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25 Dec 2014

CESTAT should decide appeal on merits and cannot dismiss the appeal for any default

TAccording to Section 35C of The Central Excise Act, 1944 read with section 129B of The Custom Act, 1962, Tribunal may pass orders as it thinks fit that is confirming, modifying or annulling the decision or remand back the appeal.

Further, as per Rule 20 of the CESTAT (Procedure) Rules, 1982, Tribunal may dismiss the appeal on default of non-appearance of the appellant or decide it on merits.

In the case of Balaji Steel Re-rolling mills vs. Commissioner of Central Excise(2014) 52 taxmann.com 107 (SC), the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India on 14 November 2014 held that the Tribunal could not have dismissed the appeal filed by the appellant for want of prosecution or for default and it ought to have decided the appeal on merits even if the appellant or its counsel was not present when the appeal was taken up for hearing.