Introduction of CESTAT
The Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (referred as CESTAT) was formerly known as Customs, Excise & Gold (Control) Appellate Tribunal (referred as CEGAT). CEGAT was constituted to provide an independent and impartial forum to hear the appeal against orders and decisions passed by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise under the Customs Act 1962, Central Excise Act 1944 and Gold (Control) Act, 1968.
Later on, the service tax appeals under the Finance Act, 1994 was included under the jurisdiction of CESTAT. The CESTAT is also empowered to hear appeals against the orders passed by the designated authority with regard to anti-dumping duties under the Customs Tariff Act, 1975.
According to Section 86, any assessment order passed by Commissioner of Central Excise under section 73 or Section 83A or orders of revision by Commissioner of Central Excise under Section 84 or orders of the Commissioner of Central Excise (Appeals) under Section 85 are appealable before the Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) by any of the aggrieved parties i.e., assessee, Commissioner of Central Excise or the Board.
Powers of CESTAT
CESTAT functions with the following limitations as it CAN NOT –
ü grant compensation owing to unlawful action of revenue authorities.
ü review its own order as any quasi judicial authority cannot review its own order.
ü exercise powers beyond statute as it is a creature of statute only. It cannot issue writs or grant relief which ought to be granted by high court.
ü comment on legitimacy of statute and has to presume legal validity of the provisions of Act and Rules.
ü punish for its own contempt but has to forward it to high court for its consideration.
ü act as a court as it is a tribunal and cannot be equated to a court. Members of tribunal are not judges and their decisions are orders, not judgments.
ü over rule any high court judgment and are bound by judgments of high courts and Supreme Court.
Amount of Service Tax/Interest/Penalty Involved à Prescribed Fee
Rs. Five lakhs or less àRs. 1,000
More than Rs. five lakh but not exceeding Rs. fifty lakh àRs. 5,000
More than Rs. fifty lakh à Rs. 10,000
A new sub-section (6A) had been inserted by the Finance Act, 2004 which provides that every application to Appellate Tribunal for the following purposes should be accompanied by a fee of Rs. 500
(a) in an appeal for grant of stay or for rectification of mistake or for any other purpose.
(b) for restoration of an appeal or an application.
No fee shall, however, be payable in case of appeal filed by Department or for filing a memorandum of cross objections. Also, it has been clarified that no fee is required to be collected or paid on adjournment or pass over or memorandum under Rule 2B. (Refer CESTAT Public Notice No. 1/2005, dated 11-2-2005)
The monetary limits for filing appeals in various forums has been revised w.e.f. 1-9-2011. While the duty, interest or penalty involved should be minimum Rs. 5,00,000 for appeal to CESTAT, same should be Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 25 lakh in case of appeal before High Court and Supreme Court, respectively.
It has also been clarified that the determinative element for coverage would be duty/tax under dispute' and that monetary limit would be applicable on the disputed duty and not on total duty demanded in a case. The monetary limit will not apply to cases challenging adverse judgments relating to constitutional validity of provisions of Act or Rule or where Notification, instruction, order or Circular has been held illegal! ultra vires. It would also not apply for application to Revisionary Authority. In cases of audit objections also, the appeals would be subjected to such monetary limits.'
Monetary limit for Single Bench
Finance Act, 2013 has amended section 35D of the Central Excise Act, 1944 w.e.f. 10.05.2013 with a view to enhance the monetary limit of the single Bench of the Appellate Tribunal to hear and dispose of appeals from Rs. ten lakh to Rs. fifty lakhs.
New Appeal Forms
Vide Notification No. 5/2013-ST dated 10.04.2013, appeal forms viz, ST-5, ST-6 and ST-7 have been substituted w.e.f. 1.6.2013. All appeals filed in the Tribunal on or after 1.6.2013 would be required to be filed in new forms only. These forms contain additional information which could lead to faster communication between the Tribunal Registry and the appellant, bunching (Clubbing) of cases and would also facilitate creation of a comprehensive data base. Salient features of new forms have been explained by CBEC vide Circular No. 969/03/2013-CX dated 11.04.2013, text of which can be referred to in Annexure 19 in Part IV of the Book.