BAJAJ AUTO LIMITED Vs UNION OF INDIA
Central Excise - liability towards National Calamity Contingent Duty (NCCD) of a assessee, which is exempted from payment of Central Excise Duty under the CEA, 1944 - whether, even though the NCCD is in the nature of an excise duty, its incidence being on the product, rather than on the value of the excise duty, that itself would make any difference to the applicability of the NCCD to excise exempt units.
HELD – the NCCD is in the nature of excise duty. It has to bear the same character as those respective taxes to which the surcharge is appended. NCCD will not cease to be an excise duty, but is the same as excise duty, even if it is levied on the product. Thus, when NCCD, at the time of collection, takes the character of a duty on the product, whatever may be the rationale behind it, it is also subject to the provisions relating to excise duty, applicable to it in the manner of collection as well as the obligation of the taxpayer to discharge the duty.
Once the excise duty is exempted, NCCD, levied as an excise duty cannot partake a different character and, thus, would be entitled to the benefit of the exemption notification. The exemption notification also states that the exemption is from the “whole of the duty of excise or additional duty of excise” - the appellant would not be liable to pay the NCCD – the impugned High Court Order is set aside and assessee appeal is allowed.