Union Of India & Anr.Etc. vs M/S V.V.F.Ltd.Etc.Etc. on 22 April, 2020


Supreme Court of India

Union Of India & Anr.Etc. vs M/S V.V.F.Ltd.Etc.Etc. on 22 April, 2020

Author: M.R. Shah

Bench: Arun Mishra, M.R. Shah, Aniruddha Bose

                                                 1


                                                                        REPORTABLE

                            IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                            CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                            CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 2256-2263 OF 2020
                         (Arising out of S.L.P.(C) Nos. 28194-28201/2010)


         Union of India & Another Etc. Etc.               …Appellants
                                  Versus
         M/s V.V.F Limited & Another Etc. Etc.            …Respondents
         WITH
         C.A. No. 2264 of 2020 @ SLP (C) No. 14751/2013,
         C.A. No. 2265 of 2020 @ SLP (C) No. 14752/2013,
         C.A. No. 2266 of 2020 @ SLP (C) No. 14753/2013,
         C.A. Nos. 2267-2275 of 2020 @ SLP (C) Nos. 15481-15489/2011,
         SLP (C) No.19998/2013,
         SLP …. CC No. 1787/2014,
         C.A. No. 2276 of 2020 @ SLP (C) No.11878/2015,
         C.A. No. 2277 of 2020 @ SLP (C) No.19370/2015,
         C.A. No. 2278 of 2020 @ SLP (C) No.19868/2015,
         C.A. No. 2279 of 2020 @ SLP (C) No.19386/2015,
         C.A. No. 2280 of 2020 @ SLP (C) No.19379/2015,
         C.A. No. 2281 of 2020 @ SLP (C) No.19376/2015,
         C.A. No. 2282 of 2020 @ SLP (C) No.19384/2015,
         C.A. No. 2283 of 2020 @ SLP (C) No.19380/2015,
         C.A. No. 2284 of 2020 @ SLP (C) No.20626/2015,
         C.A. No. 2285 of 2020 @ SLP (C) No.21583/2015,
         C.A. No. 2286 of 2020 @ SLP (C) No.19320/2015,
         C.A. No. 2287 of 2020 @ SLP (C) No.19371/2015,
         C.A. No. 2288 of 2020 @ SLP (C) No.20109/2015,
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by

         C.A. No. 2289 of 2020 @ SLP (C) No.19378/2015,
NARENDRA PRASAD
Date: 2020.04.22
18:26:13 IST
Reason:

         C.A. No. 2290 of 2020 @ SLP (C) No.19375/2015,
         C.A. No. 2291 of 2020 @ SLP (C) No.21406/2015,
                                                2


C.A.   No.   2292   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23331/2015,
C.A.   No.   2293   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.20630/2015,
C.A.   No.   2294   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.20631/2015,
C.A.   No.   2295   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.20628/2015,
C.A.   No.   2296   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.20627/2015,
C.A.   No.   2297   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.19228/2015,
C.A.   No.   2298   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23394/2015,
C.A.   No.   2299   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23399/2015,
C.A.   No.   2300   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23328/2015,
C.A.   No.   2301   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.19373/2015,
C.A.   No.   2302   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23329/2015,
C.A.   No.   2303   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23326/2015,
C.A.   No.   2304   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.20442/2015,
C.A.   No.   2305   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23398/2015,
C.A.   No.   2306   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23393/2015,
C.A.   No.   2307   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.20370/2015,
C.A.   No.   2308   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.19842/2015,
C.A.   No.   2309   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.22568/2015,
C.A.   No.   2310   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.21605/2015,
C.A.   No.   2363   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23303/2015,
C.A.   No.   2311   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23301/2015,
C.A.   No.   2312   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23334/2015,
C.A.   No.   2313   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.21584/2015,
C.A.   No.   2314   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23391/2015,
C.A.   No.   2315   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23297/2015,
C.A.   No.   2316   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23898/2015,
C.A.   No.   2317   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23251/2015,
C.A.   No.   2318   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23896/2015,
C.A.   No.   2319   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23903/2015,
C.A.   No.   2320   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23396/2015,
C.A.   No.   2321   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23294/2015,
C.A.   No.   2322   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23897/2015,
C.A.   No.   2323   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23900/2015,
C.A.   No.   2324   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23295/2015,
C.A.   No.   2325   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23299/2015,
C.A.   No.   2326   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23902/2015,
C.A.   No.   2327   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.27036/2015,
C.A.   No.   2328   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23296/2015,
                                                3


C.A.   No.   2329   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.26286/2015,
C.A.   No.   2330   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23693/2015,
C.A.   No.   2331   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.26764/2015,
C.A.   No.   2332   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23247/2015,
C.A.   No.   2333   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23899/2015,
C.A.   No.   2334   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.23901/2015,
C.A.   No.   2335   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.27041/2015,
C.A.   No.   2364   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.27024/2015,
C.A.   No.   2336   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.27034/2015,
C.A.   No.   2337   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.26284/2015,
C.A.   No.   2338   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.27053/2015,
C.A.   No.   2339   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.27058/2015,
C.A.   No.   2340   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.25804/2015,
C.A.   No.   2341   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.27046/2015,
C.A.   No.   2342   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.26767/2015,
C.A.   No.   2343   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.27043/2015,
C.A.   No.   2344   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.26821/2015,
C.A.   No.   2345   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.27050/2015,
C.A.   No.   2346   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.26294/2015,
C.A.   No.   2347   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.27048/2015,
C.A.   No.   2348   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.26283/2015,
C.A.   No.   2349   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.27049/2015,
C.A.   No.   2350   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.25799/2015,
C.A.   No.   2351   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.26295/2015,
C.A.   No.   2352   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.26287/2015,
C.A.   No.   2353   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.25797/2015,
C.A.   No.   2354   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.26290/2015,
C.A.   No.   2355   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.27744/2015,
C.A.   No.   2356   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.26972/2015,
C.A.   No.   2357   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.1907/2016,
C.A.   No.   2358   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.7208/2016,
C.A.   No.   2359   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No. 10257/2018,
C.A.   No.   2360   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.10253/2018,
C.A.   No.   2361   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.12148/2018 and
C.A.   No.   2362   of   2020   @   SLP   (C)   No.12496/2018.


                                    JUDGMENT

4

M.R. SHAH, J.

1. Leave granted in all the special leave petitions.

Civil Appeals @ SLP © Nos. 28194-28201 of 2010

2. As common question of law and facts arise in this group of appeals and as

such arise out of the impugned common judgment and order dated 10.03.2010

passed by the High Court of Gujarat at Ahmedabad in respective Special Civil

Application Nos. 5909/2008, 6300/2008, 6298/2008, 6299/2008, 5907/2008,

8468/2008, 6334/2008 and 6562/2008, all these appeals are being decided and

disposed of by this common judgment and order.

2.1 Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned common judgment

and order dated 10.03.2010 passed by the High Court of Gujarat at Ahmedabad in

respective Special Civil Application Nos. 5909/2008, 6300/2008, 6298/2008,

6299/2008, 5907/2008, 8468/2008, 6334/2008 and 6562/2008, by which the

Division Bench of the High Court has allowed the aforesaid writ petitions

preferred by the respondents herein – original writ petitioners and by which the

High Court has held that the impugned policy of withdrawal of the

benefit/incentive to the original writ petitioners is retrospective and not retroactive

and quashed and set aside the Notification 16/2008 dated 27.03.2008, on the
5

ground that bar of promissory estoppel would operate, the Union of India has

preferred the present appeals.

3. The facts leading to the present appeals and the List of Dates & Events in

nutshell are as under:

Kutch District in the State of Gujarat was struck by a devastating earthquake

on 26.01.2001 which destroyed the existing infrastructure in that District, besides

causing huge casualties. With a view to attract large scale investment and to

generate new employment opportunities in the District of Kutch, the Government

of India announced an Incentive Scheme for setting up New Industries in the

earthquake affected District of Kutch, by issuing Central Excise Exemption

Notification No. 39/2001-CE dated 31.07.2001. The said notification granted

exemption to goods cleared from a New Industrial Unit set up in the Kutch District

of Gujarat prior to 31.07.2003 (which was subsequently extended to 31.12.2005)

from so much of duty of excise as was equivalent to the amount of duty paid in

cash/Personal Ledger Account (PLA) on the finished goods. That the said

incentive of refund of the duty paid in cash/PLA was available for the period of 5

years from the date of commencement of commercial production. The object of

the Incentive Scheme was to revive the economy in Kutch District by attracting

fresh large scale investments from entrepreneurs by setting up new industries in the

said District so as to generate new employment which in turn would help Kutch
6

District and its people to be brought back in the main stream with the Nation. The

said notification operationalised the incentive scheme in the following manner:

a) The eligible unit was required to produce a certificate from a High

Powered Committee comprising of a Chief Commissioner of Central

Excise and the Chief Secretary to the Government of Gujarat

certifying that the unit was indeed a new industrial unit which had

been set up on or after the date of the Exemption Notification but not

later than 31.07.2003 (this cut-off date was subsequently extended to

31.12.2005);

b) The unit was to furnish a declaration regarding the value of

investment in plant and machinery installed in the factory as on the

date of commercial production and also obtain a certificate to this

effect from the Committee confirming the original value of the

investment;

c) The procedure for claiming refund, envisaged submission of a

statement of the total duty payments including duty paid by utilization

of Cenvat Credit) to the jurisdictional Central Excise Authority and

verification of the above in a time bound manner by such authority;

d) The notification also provided for recovery of any excess refund

claimed/granted together with interest in case the value of plant and
7

machinery was wrongly declared, as also in some other eventualities

which were added by various amending notifications;

e) Where fresh investment in the plant and machinery was below Rs. 20

crores – the incentive available was for the first clearances up to an

aggregate value not exceeding twice the value of such investment

from the date of commencement of commercial production, in each

year; and

f) Where the investments were more than Rs.20 crores – the Incentive

would be unlimited as there was no upper cap.

3.1 The original writ petitioners set up new industrial units in the Kutch

District. They made an investment in the plant and machinery of more than Rs.20

crores. According to them, almost the entire duty was required to be paid in cash,

the whole of which was refundable without any upper cap in terms of the

notification No. 39/2001-CE dated 31.07.2001.

3.2 It appears that the then Government of Gujarat announced an Incentive

Scheme, 2001 dated 09.11.2001 for the economic development of Kutch District.

Under the said notification, Sales Tax exemption was provided. The Sales Tax

exemption was available only to those industries which were eligible for excise

exemption under Notification No. 39/2001-CE dated 31.07.2001.
8

3.3 Various amendments were made to the original Incentive Scheme

Notification No. 39/2001-CE dated 31.07.2001 between September, 2001 to

September, 2004, inter alia, to clarify certain matters and also to extend the cut-off

date for setting up new industrial units from 31.07.2003 to 31.12.2005. One

another amendment was made with effect from 06.08.2003 vide notification No.

65/2003-CE to provide that PLA payments could be made to discharge duty

liabilities on the finished products only after exhausting the CENVAT Credit

balances.

3.4 According to the original writ petitioners, in view of the inventive offered

under Notification No. 39/2001-CE, the respondents herein -original writ

petitioners which had initially planned to expand their manufacturing activities at

Maharashtra, decided to instead set up the new units in the Kutch District. That

was in the month of December, 2005. According to the original writ petitioners,

the said decision was taken only because of the “incentive” promised by the

Government to refund excise duty paid in the Kutch area. According to the

original writ petitioners, as a result of the decision to set up a new unit in Kutch

District, the company had to additionally incur substantial costs towards

additional freight, handling charges, storage charges etc., which worked out to

approximately Rs.2,200/- PMT. In addition, the company suffered severe

locational disadvantages.

9

3.5 Original writ petitioners commenced commercial production of split/crude

fatty acid, etc. somewhere between the months of November, 2004 to December,

2005. The primary raw materials for manufacture of these final products was

palm kernel oil, crude palm kernel oil, other vegetable oils.

3.6 The said Incentive Notification No. 39/2001-CE was amended by another

notification No. 16/2008-CE dated 27.03.2008 (impugned before the High Court),

which according to the writ petitioners was relating to a virtual withdrawal of the

incentive scheme. The amended notification provided that the benefit of refund

would be granted with reference to the value addition, which was notionally fixed

@ 34% for the commodity manufactured. Notification No. 16/2008-CE also

provided for determination of a special rate by the Commissioner, in a situation

where the actual value addition was more than the deemed value addition as

specified. According to the original writ petitioners, as a consequence of the said

amendment, the inventive available to them stood reduced from the refund of the

entire of the duty paid in cash/PLA to 34% of the total duty paid. The original

writ petitioners challenged the subsequent notification No. 16/2008-CE before the

High Court of Gujarat by way of the aforesaid writ petitions. It was the case of

the original writ petitioners that the subsequent notification No. 16/2008-CE

changed the entire basis of the incentive exemption and had the effect of

substantially reducing their entitlement of refund. It was also the case on behalf
10

of the original writ petitioners that as a result of the said amendment which

resulted in their entitlement for refund being reduced from nearly 100% of the

duty paid to only 34% of such duty amount. According to the original writ

petitioners, since the promised incentive was curtailed midway before the expiry

of the five years period, the subsequent notification was in breach of the principle

of promissory estoppel.

3.7 The aforesaid writ petitions were opposed by the revenue by submitting as

under:

i) the Exemption Notification prompted certain unscrupulous

manufacturers to indulge in different type of tax evasion tactics;

ii) the intention behind the Exemption Notification was to

incentivise genuine manufacturers only to the extent of actual value

addition made by them;

iii) duty paid in cash by units set up in District of Kutch pursuant to

the Exemption Notification was found to be inordinately high as

compared to other similarly placed units in other parts of India;

iv) the Central Government by the very same power by which it

grants exemption is empowered to withdraw the same;
11

v) the impugned notifications are only a modification to give effect

to the real intention of the Government and are not withdrawal of the

benefit; and

vi) in light of the misuse of the exemption pleaded by UOI, public

interest warrants such withdrawal.

3.8 Simultaneously, the manufacturing units also filed representations to the

Government for re-consideration. Pursuant to the representations, one another

notification was issued by the Central Government vide Notification No. 33/2008-

CEdated 10.6.2008. Therefore, the original writ petitioners amended the writ

petitions challenging the subsequent notification dated 10.6.2008 also. It appears

that thereafter the Central Government vide notification No. 51/2008 dated

3.10.2008 revised the deemed value addition at 75% in respect of the products

manufactured by the original writ petitioners without giving them any option of

applying for a special rate.

3.9 The aforesaid writ petitions were heard by the Division Bench. The

members of the Division Bench differed. One learned Judge allowed the writ

petitions and another learned Judge held that the writ petitions deserve to be

dismissed. In view of the difference of opinion between the two learned Judges of

the Division Bench, the matter was referred to a third learned Judge. By the
12

impugned judgment and order, the third learned Judge has agreed with the view

taken by the learned Judge who allowed the writ petitions. Consequently, by the

impugned judgment and order, the writ petitions are allowed mainly on the ground

of doctrine of promissory estoppel. Consequently, it is held by the High Court

that the incentive as originally envisaged by notification No. 39/2001-CE was

required to be implemented and the differential amount was directed to be

refunded to the writ petitioners. Hence, the present appeals.

Civil Appeals @ SLP © Nos. 14751 of 2013,
Civil Appeals @ SLP © Nos. 14752 of 2013 and
Civil Appeals @ SLP © Nos. 14753 of 2013

4. All these appeals arise out of the common judgment and order passed by the

High Court of Gujarat at Ahmedabad dated 17.10.2012 in Special Civil Application

Nos. 3582/2012, 3569/2012 and 3587/2012 respectively, by which the High Court

has dismissed the said petitions.

Before the High Court, respective original writ petitioners claimed for

refund of the excise duty in terms of the original notification No. 29 of 2001. The

Excise authorities, however, granted the exemption only in terms of the amended

notification Nos. 16/20098-CE and 36/2008-CE (which are subject matter of Civil

Appeals @ SLP © Nos. 28194-28201 of 2010). Before the High Court, initially,

only the orders passed by the Excise authorities granting refund as per the

subsequent notifications were under challenge. However, subsequently, the
13

original writ petitioners also challenged the subsequent notification Nos. 16/2008-

CE and 33/2008-CE. By the impugned Judgment and Order, the High Court has

refused to entertain the petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution and

dismissed the same filed for refund of the excise duty in view of the provisional

Section 11B of the Central Excise Act. So far as the challenge to the subsequent

notification Nos. 16/2008-CE and 33/2008-CE is concerned, the High Court has

not entered into the merits in view of its earlier decision which is the subject matter

before this Court in the case of Civil Appeals @ SLP © Nos. 28194-28201 of

2010. As, in the present appeals, the question is with respect to the challenge to the

subsequent notifications which are also the subject-matter of this Court in the case

of Civil Appeals @ SLP © Nos. 28194-28201 of 2010, all these appeals are also

decided and disposed of together with this common judgment and order.

Civil Appeal Nos. ………………. of 2020 @ SLP (C) Nos. 15481-15489 of 2011

5. These Civil Appeals arise out of the impugned Judgment and Order passed

by the High Court of Sikkim at Gangtok dated 15.11.2010 passed in Writ Petition

Nos. 11/2008 and other allied writ petitions, by which the High Court has quashed

and set aside the similar notifications dated 27.03.2008 and 10.06.2008 allowing

the refund of excise duty on value addition basis, on the ground that the same are

against the principle of promissory estoppel. As the original notifications dated

09.09.2003 as well as OM dated 01.04.2007 and the subsequent notifications dated
14

27.03.2008 and 10.06.2008 are as such similar to the notification No. 16 of 2008

applicable to Kutch area of Gujarat, the present group of Civil Appeals shall also

be governed by this common Judgment and Order.

Civil Appeal No. ………of 2020 @ SLP © No. 11878/2015 and other allied
matters

6. All these appeals arise out of the impugned common Judgment and Order

passed by the High Court of Guwahati dated 20.11.2014 in Writ Appeal No. 243 of

2009 and other allied writ petitions, by which the High Court has quashed and set

aside the subsequent notification dated 27.03.2008 and the subsequent industrial

policies of 2007 on the ground that the same are hit by the doctrine of promissory

estoppel. In some of the writ petitions, the High Court has disposed of the

respective writ petitions following the common Judgment and Order dated

20.11.2014. The particulars of respective Civil Appeals are as under:

     Sl. No.    Item     Particulars   High Court          IN            Judgment
                 No.                                                       date
       1         3.7      SLP (C)      Guwahati      WA No.243/2009     20.11.2014
                       No.11878/2015
       2         3.8    SLP (C) No.    Guwahati     WP C No.1242/2013   20.11.2014
                        19370/2015
       3         3.9      SLP (C)      Guwahati     WP C No.3940/2009   20.11.2014
                       No.19868/2015
       4        3.10      SLP (C)      Guwahati     WP C No.1151/2013   20.11.2014
                       No.19386/2015
       5        3.11      SLP (C)      Guwahati      WP C No.84/2013    20.11.2014
                       No.19379/2015
       6        3.12      SLP (C)      Guwahati     WP C No.4119/2010   20.11.2014
                       No.19376/2015
       7        3.13      SLP (C)      Guwahati     WP C No.235/2013    20.11.2014
                                15


            No.19384/2015
8    3.14      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.3377/2009   20.11.2014
            No.19380/2015
9    3.15      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.6161/2012   20.11.2014
            No.20626/2015
10   3.16      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.5444/2014   20.11.2014
            No.21583/2015
11   3.17      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.809/2013    20.11.2014
            No.19320/2015
12   3.18      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.1975/2013   20.11.2014
            No.19371/2015
13   3.19      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.937/2015    20.02.2015
            No.20109/2015
14   3.20      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.6786/2013   20.11.2014
            No.19378/2015
15   3.21      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.3457/2014   20.11.2014
            No.19375/2015
16   3.22      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.4112/2010   20.11.2014
            No.21406/2015
17   3.23      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.6685/2013   20.11.2014
            No.23331/2015
18   3.24      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.483/2015    31.01.2015
            No.20630/2015
19   3.25      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.6883/2014   19.12.2014
            No.20631/2015
20   3.26      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.410/2013    20.11.2014
            No.20628/2015
21   3.27      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.228/2015    22.01.2015
            No.20627/2015
22   3.28      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.932/2015    20.02.2015
            No.19228/2015
23   3.29      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.1472/2013   20.11.2014
            No.23394/2015
24   3.30      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.227/2015    22.01.2015
            No.23399/2015
25   3.31      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.487/2015    31.01.2015
            No.23328/2015
26   3.32      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.1694/2014   20.11.2014
            No.19373/2015
27   3.33      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.279/2013    20.11.2014
            No.23329/2015
28   3.34      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.239/2013    20.11.2014
            No.23326/2015
29   3.35      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.972/2015    24.02.2015
            No.20442/2015
30   3.36      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.723/2014    20.11.2014
                                16


            No.23398/2015
31   3.37      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.1696/2014   20.11.2014
            No.23393/2015
32   3.38      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.864/2015    19.02.2015
            No.20370/2015
33   3.39      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.1433/2015   30.03.2015
            No.19842/2015
34   3.40      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.1427/2015   30.03.2015
            No.22568/2015
35   3.41      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.931/2015    20.02.2015
            No.21605/2015
36   3.42      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.2660/2013   28.11.2014
            No.23303/2015
37   3.43      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.933/2015    20.02.2015
            No.23301/2015
38   3.44      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.1789/2010   28.11.2014
            No.23334/2015
39   3.45      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.4869/2009   20.11.2014
            No.21584/2015
40   3.46      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.104/2013    20.11.2014
            No.23391/2015
41   3.47      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.5969/2012   20.11.2014
            No.23297/2015
42   3.48      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.724/2014    20.11.2014
            No.23898/2015
43   3.49      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.3387/2009   20.11.2014
            No.23251/2015
44   3.50      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.230/2009    20.11.2014
            No.23896/2015
45   3.51      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.186/2015    20.01.2015
            No.23903/2015
46   3.52      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.811/2013    20.11.2014
            No.23396/2015
47   3.53      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.2918/2010   20.11.2014
            No.23294/2015
48   3.54      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.2138/2009   20.11.2014
            No.23897/2015
49   3.55      SLP (C)      Guwahati    WP C No.41/2013    20.11.2014
            No.23900/2015
50   3.56      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.2887/2014   20.11.2014
            No.23295/2015
51   3.57      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.3458/2014   20.11.2014
            No.23299/2015
52   3.58      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.4433/2014   23.01.2015
            No.23902/2015
53   3.59      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.5968/2012   20.11.2014
                                17


            No.27036/2015
54   3.60      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.526/2015    04.02.2015
            No.23296/2015
55   3.61      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.317/2014    20.11.2014
            No.26286/2015
56   3.62      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.416/2012    12.05.2015
            No.23693/2015
57   3.63      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.5538/2014   20.11.2014
            No.26764/2015
58   3.64      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.319/2013    20.11.2014
            No.23247/2015
59   3.65      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.3376/2009   20.11.2014
            No.23899/2015
60   3.66      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.211/2015    23.01.2015
            No.23901/2015
61   3.67      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.632/2013    20.11.2014
            No.27041/2015
62   3.68      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.242/2013    20.11.2014
            No.27024/2015
63   3.69      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.312/2013    20.11.2014
            No.27034/2015
64   3.70      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.486/2015    31.01.2015
            No.26284/2015
65   3.71      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.417/2013    20.11.2014
            No.27053/2015
66   3.72      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.399/2013    20.11.2014
            No.27058/2015
67   3.73      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.528/2015    04.02.2015
            No.25804/2015
68   3.74      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.1153/2013   20.11.2014
            No.27046/2015
69   3.75      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.240/2013    20.11.2014
            No.26767/2015
70   3.76      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.457/2013    20.11.2014
            No.27043/2015
71   3.77      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.6698/2013   20.11.2014
            No.26821/2015
72   3.78      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.290/2015    28.01.2015
            No.27050/2015
73   3.79      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.109/2013    20.11.2014
            No.26294/2015
74   3.80      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.2468/2014   20.11.2014
            No.27048/2015
75   3.81      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.6864/2014   19.12.2014
            No.26283/2015
76   3.82      SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.259/2015    23.01.2015
                                              18


                         No.27049/2015
      77         3.83       SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.187/2013    20.11.2014
                         No.25799/2015
      78         3.84       SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.527/2015    04.02.2015
                         No.26295/2015
      79         3.85       SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.810/2013    20.11.2014
                         No.26287/2015
      80         3.86       SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.729/2014    20.11.2014
                         No.25797/2015
      81         3.87       SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.1723/2014   20.11.2014
                         No.26290/2015
      82         3.88       SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.6865/2014   19.12.2014
                         No.27744/2015
      83         3.89       SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No. 226/2015   22.01.2015
                         No.26972/2015
      84         3.90       SLP (C)       Tripura    WA No. 38/2009     24.08.2015
                         No.1907/2016
      85         3.91       SLP (C)      Guwahati   WP C No.6972/2015   02.12.2015
                         No.7208/2016


6.1        The relevant facts are as under:

The Government of India issued an industrial policy on 01.04.2007 reiterating the

terms and conditions of the earlier industrial policy dated 24.12.1997 which

provided the fiscal based incentive to new industrial units and their substantial

expansion. As per this policy, 100% excise duty exemption was provided on the

products manufactured in the North-Eastern region. By the subsequent

notifications/industrial policies which were impugned before the High Court, the

refund of excise duty was limited to the extent of the value addition. The High

Court by the impugned common Judgment and Order has set aside the subsequent

notifications/industrial policies which were similar to notification No. 16 of 2008
19

applicable to Kutch area of Gujarat and subject matter of Civil Appeals @ SLP ©

Nos. 28194-28201 of 2010.

Civil Appeal No. ………of 2020 @ SLP © No. 10257/2018,
Civil Appeal No. ………of 2020 @ SLP © No. 10253/2018,
Civil Appeal No. ………of 2020 @ SLP © No. 12148/2018 and
Civil Appeal No. ………of 2020 @ SLP © No. 12496/2018

7. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned common judgment

and order passed by the High Court of Sikkim dated 21.11.2017 passed in Writ

Petition Nos. 8/2017, 27/2017, 40/2015 and 41/2015 respectively, by which the

High Court has quashed and set aside the subsequent notification No. 20 of 2008

dated 27.03.2008, notification No. 36 of 2008 dated 10.06.2008 and notification

No. 38 of 2008 dated 10.06.2008 on the ground that the same are hit by the

doctrine of promissory estoppel, the Union of India has preferred the present

Appeals.

7.1 In line with the Industrial Policy, 2007, notification No. 20/2008 was issued

whereby with respect to the new undertakings established, the goods were

exempted from so much of the duty of excise leviable thereon as was to the

equivalent to the amount of duty paid by the manufacturer of goods other than the

amount of duty paid by utilization of CENVAT credit. In the year 2008,

subsequent notifications impugned before the High Court were issued, by which

the refund was allowable on the duty payable on the goods manufactured on value
20

addition basis, the same are set aside by the High Court by the impugned common

judgment and order on the ground that the same are hit by the doctrine of

promissory estoppel. As otherwise, the submissions are common and the reasons

on which the High Court has set aside the impugned subsequent notifications are

similar to the facts in the case of Civil Appeals @ SLP © Nos. 28194-28201 of

2010, all these Appeals are also decided and disposed of by this common judgment

and order.

8. Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the Union of India has vehemently

submitted that the High Court has materially erred in quashing and setting aside the

notification No. 16 of 2008 dated 27.03.2008 on the ground that the same is

retrospective and not retro-active and the same is barred by the doctrine of

promissory estoppel.

8.1 It is submitted as under:

That the High Court has not properly appreciated and/or considered the

notification impugned before it and as such the High Court has misinterpreted

and/or misread the notification No. 16 of 2008. It is submitted that the High

Court has erred in treating and/or considering the notification No. 16 of 2008 as

withdrawal of exemption benefit and/or withdrawal of the incentive provided by

notification dated 31.07.2001. It is vehemently submitted that as such the

impugned notification No. 16 of 2008 was clarificatory in nature and cannot be
21

said to be withdrawal of exemption benefit and/or withdrawal of the incentive

provided earlier by notification dated 31.07.2001;

8.2 The High Court ought to have appreciated that the power of such a kind to

grant exemption from levy and collection of duty includes in itself the power to

rescind, modify or withdraw such exemption. It is submitted that the liability to

pay excise duty under the Central Excise Act arises when a taxable event occurs.

An exemption notification issued under Section 5A will not affect the suspending

the collection of duty under normal circumstance. It is submitted that in the

present case the exemption was by conditions laid down in the notification and in

public interest. Such an exemption of this very nature is susceptible of being

revoked, annulled, modified or varied or subjected to exercise of statutory power

of State under the law itself as is obvious from the language of Section 5A;

8.3 The High Court has erred in not appreciating that the Government has

validly issued the notifications. The provision of granting of refund of cash paid

portion of duty and eligibility of credit of entire amount of duty to the buyers of

such excisable goods had prompted certain unscrupulous manufacturers to indulge

in different type of tax evasion tactics. An analysis of cases booked by the Excise

Department and the representations received from Industry Association had

revealed misuse of exemptions given by the Government which was meant to be

available only for genuine manufacturers. It is submitted that the modus operandi
22

which was being followed by such unscrupulous manufacturers revealed that such

unscrupulous manufacturers were reporting of bogus production by mere issuance

of sale invoice without actual production of goods and supply/clearance of

excisable goods, which would result in availment of CENVAT credit by buyers of

such excisable goods in other parts of the country without actual production being

carried out and in absence of actual receipt of goods; reporting of bogus production

by such units in these areas where actual production takes place elsewhere in the

country; over valuation of goods resulting in availment of excess credit by buyers;

goods were supplied by manufacturers, importers to these units without issuance of

sales invoice and these were backed by bogus sale invoices issued by traders who

did not undertake actual supply of goods. The actual supplier of these goods

issued bogus duty paid invoices to other manufacturers who took credit based on

such invoices without receipt of goods. Having found such activities by such

unscrupulous manufacturers against the object and purpose of grant of

exemption/incentive, therefore, the Government came out with the notification no.

16 of 2008 which as such can be said to be clarificatory in nature. By no stretch of

imagination it can be said to be a withdrawal of exemption granted earlier and

consequently it cannot be said to be in contravention of doctrine of promissory

estoppel;

23

8.4 That the High Court has not properly appreciated and/or considered the

reasons for issuance of the subsequent notification. The reason for issuance of the

notification No. 16 of 2008 which as such can be said to be clarificatory was that

by adopting such modus operandi, the units in these areas were wanting to pay

maximum amount of duty in cash so that they became entitled to a claim of refund

of entire amount of duty paid in cash. In order to verify this aspect, it is submitted

that a study was made by the Excise Department to find out the percentage of duty

paid in cash and from the CENVAT credit account by the units availing this area

based exemption. On receipt of these details, they were compared with the duty

payment details of the same industry groups for all the units across the country to

find out whether the percentage of duty paid by the units in cash in the specified

areas is comparable with the units in the rest of the country. An analysis of these

details clearly showed that the industry sectors in the specified areas were paying a

very high percentage of duty in cash i.e. through personal ledger account (PLA) in

comparison to the all India payment of duty through PLA on similar goods. Thus

there was misuse of excise duty exemption which was considered expedient in

public interest and given by the Central Government with a laudable object of

having genuine industrialization in either backward areas or areas such like Kutch,

which suffered on account of Natural calamity. Misuse of excise duty exemption

being rampant and the effect of such manipulated acts were brought to the notice of
24

the Government. The policy and intention of the Government to provide excise

duty exemption was in respect of genuine manufacturing activities carried out in

these areas. The entire genesis of the policy manifesting the intention of the

Government to grant excise duty exemption was to provide such exemption only to

actual value addition made in these areas. It is in the background of these facts and

with a view to give effect to such a policy, the Government in exercise of powers

conferred under Section 5A of the Central Excise Act modified the refund

mechanism so as to provide that excise duty refund would be allowed only to the

extent of duty payable on actual value addition made by the manufacturers

undertaking manufacturing activities in these areas. As a result of the notification

impugned before the High Court, the manufacturers are required to pay duty on

full value of the goods manufactured and cleared by them in the same manner as

per existing scheme but refund would be granted only to the extent of duty paid on

the value addition made by them in these specified areas based on all India average

of percentage of duty paid in cash and CENVAT credit;

8.5 The High Court has erred in not appreciating that the notification No. 16 of

2008 was issued by the Government in public interest and in the interest of

revenue.

25

8.6 Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the Union of India has made further

submissions while assailing the impugned judgment and order passed by the High

Court as follows:

8.6.1 That the Central Government has the power to provide for exemption from

duty on goods either wholly or partly with or without condition as may be called

for in public interest. The guiding factor for exercise of power is public interest.

When the exemption notification was issued under Section 5A of the Central

Excise Act, it was implicit in it that it could be rescinded or modified at any time if

the public interest so demands;

8.6.2 The amendment notification is non-discriminatory and treat all industries at

par. It only rationalizes the quantum of exemption by proposing rate of refund on

the total duty payable. In the field of taxation, the Court shall be the slow to

interfere with fiscal policy, more particularly when the same is issued with respect

to exemption/incentive on fulfillment of certain conditions and when the same is in

the public interest and in the interest of revenue. Reliance is placed upon the

decision of this Court in the case of R.K. Garg v. Union of India (1981) 4 SCC

675; that the basic principle of original notification is not altered. The Central

Government has only streamlined the provisions of the notification relating to

refund of duty paid through other than CENVAT utilization;
26

8.6.3 Prior to issuance of notification dated 31.07.2001, representations were

received from State Government as well as representations of the people and Trade

and Industry that tax holidays be provided to areas affected by earthquake. The

Government considering the representations issued exemption notification dated

31.07.2001 subject to conditions, the intention behind the exemption scheme was

to attract immediate fresh investment by incentivizing setting up of new industrial

units so as to generate employment. The exemptions are subject to periodic review

to weed out those which have outlived their utility, to meet the objectives of the

Government, to curb misuse and revenue consideration. It is submitted that it was

a part of review exercise and in background of reports of misuse that the

amendment notification dated 27.3.2008 was issued;

8.6.4 The doctrine of promissory estoppel cannot be invoked against exercise of

powers under the statute;

8.6.5 The bar of promissory estoppel is not applicable in fiscal matters;

8.6.6 The Court has to look into the notification with a presumption of validity,

and not examining the matter with microscopic view to weigh the sufficiency of

the material available;

8.6.7 The doctrine of promissory estoppel sought to be invoked in the present case

is not available. The doctrine of promissory estoppel will not be applicable if the
27

change in stand of the Government is made on account of public policy and in the

public interest;

8.6.8 There are limitations while invoking the doctrine of promissory estoppel. If

the statute has permitted the power on withdrawal to the same authority, it may

result into allowing the doctrine to operate in contravention to the statute;

8.6.9 The Word ‘Promissory Estoppel” means that a party is prevented by his own

acts from claiming a right to detriment of the other party who was entitled to rely

on such conduct and has acted accordingly;

8.6.10 In respect of the exemptions that have been made by the Government,

the doctrine of promissory estoppel will not be applicable if the change in the stand

of the Government is made on account of public policy.

8.7 Heavy reliance is placed upon the decisions of this Court on “Promissory

Estoppel” in the cases of Kasinka Trading v. Union of India (1995) 1 SCC 274,

Darshan Oils (P) Ltd. v. Union of India (1995) 1 SCC 345, Shrijee Sales

Corporation v. Union of India (1997) 3 SCC 398, STO v. Shree Durga Oil Mills

(1998) 1 SCC 572, Papu Sweets and Biscuits v. Commissioner of Trade Tax, U.P.

(1998) 7 SCC 228, State of Rajasthan v. Mahaveer Oil Industries (1999) 4 SCC

357, Shree Sidhbali Steels Ltd. v. State of U.P. (2011) 3 SCC 193, DG of Foreign

Trade v. Kanak Exports (2016) 2 SCC 226 and Commissioner of Customs v. Dilip

Kumar & Co. (2018) 9 SCC 1.

28

8.8 It is further submitted by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the

Union of India that the High Court has not properly appreciated the fact that by

notification No. 16 of 2008, as such, there is no material change in the earlier

policy and, therefore, as such the amendment in the notification No. 39/2001 dated

31.07.2001 vide Notification No. 16/2008 cannot be said to be withdrawal of

benefit already promised earlier. Therefore it cannot be said that the subsequent

notification is hit by the principle of promissory estoppel, as held by the High

Court.

8.9 Making the above submissions, it is vehemently submitted that the High

Court has erred in concluding that the bar of promissory estoppel would operate

against the Union of India by withdrawal of the exemption benefits and that the

policy of withdrawal of benefit/incentive is retrospective and not retro-active.

9. Learned Senior Advocates/Counsel appearing on behalf of the respective

respondents-original writ petitioners before the High Court, while supporting the

impugned common judgment and order passed by the High Court have vehemently

submitted that in the facts and circumstances of the case, the High Court has

rightly set aside the impugned notification no. 16 of 2008 dated 27.03.2008 on the

ground that the withdrawal of exemption is retrospective and not retro-active and

also on the ground that the same is hit by the doctrine of promissory estoppel.
29

9.1 Learned Senior Advocates/Counsel appearing on behalf of the respective

respondents-original writ petitioners have made the following submissions:

9.1.1 A massive earthquake struck the Kutch district, in the State of Gujarat on

26.01.2001 destroying virtually the entire industrial infrastructure in the said

district. With a view to revive the industry and to offer employment opportunities,

the Ministry of Finance, Government of India announced incentives for setting up

new industries in the earthquake affected district of Kutch by issuing Central

Excise Exemption Notification No. 39/2001-CE dated 31.07.200. The Notification

granted exemption for a period of five years from the date of commencement of

commercial production, to goods cleared from a new industrial units set up in the

Kutch District of Gujarat from so much of duty of excise as was equivalent to the

amount of duty paid in cash/PLA i.e. the duty paid on the goods other than the

amount of duty paid by utilization of CENVAT Credit under the Cenvat Credit

Rules, 2001. The incentive offered by the notification was the refund of the total

amount of Central Excise Duty paid in cash/PLA;

9.1.2 Respective original writ petitioners based on the promise held out by the

Government of India to refund the Central Excise Duty paid in cash/PLA for a

period of five years from the commencement of commercial production by new

industrial units set up in Kutch. They invested a very huge amount only in view of

the promise held out by the Government of India;

30

9.1.3 Explanatory Memorandum to the notification as also the Press Release

issued by the Press Information Bureau record, that Ministry of Finance had

notified a scheme of exemption for the District of Kutch, in the State of Gujarat for

a period of five years from the date of commencement of commercial production.

The then State Government on 09.11.2001 also announced a Sales Tax incentive

scheme, wherein it noted that the economic activity in the Kutch district has come

to a standstill on account of the devastating earthquake and that new employment

opportunities could be created if new investments take place. Taking note of the

Excise Duty exemption for the new industries announced by the Government of

India, the State Government also introduced a Sales Tax incentive scheme which

would be available to only those industries which were eligible for the Excise

incentive;

9.1.4 Respondents-original writ petitioners were extended the benefit of

exemption promised by the Government of India from 26.12.2005 till 31.03.2008

by way of the refund of the entire duty paid in cash/PLA.

It is submitted that therefore the impugned amendment by notification No.

16 of 2008 violated the doctrine of promissory estoppel.

9.2 The following submissions have been made on the violation of Doctrine

of Promissory Estoppel:

31

9.2.1 Notification No. 16/2008 dated 27.03.2008, amended Notification No.

39/2001-CE by providing that the benefit of refund would be granted with

reference to the value addition undertaken by manufacturing units in Kutch district.

Value addition of 34% was notionally fixed by Notification 16/2008-CE for the

commodities manufactured by the respondents. The said notification also provided

for determination of special rate by the Commissioner of Central Excise in a

situation where the actual value addition was more than the deemed value addition

of 34%. As a consequence of the said amendment the incentive was reduced from

refund of the entire of the duty paid in cash/PLA to 34% of the total duty paid, in

so far as the respondents are concerned. Thus the respondents suffered a loss

to the extent of 66% of the duty paid, which it was hitherto entitled to as refund;

9.2.2 From 03.09.2008 the notional value addition of the products manufactured

by the respondent was capped at 75%. The respondents hence suffered detriment

to the extent of 25% of the duty paid, which it could not seek as refund;

9.2.3 The amendment made to Notification 39/2001 by the Notification No.

16/2008 and amendments thereto had the effect of reneging upon the promise made

by the Central Government to grant incentive by way of refund of the duty paid in

cash/PLA for a period of five years starting from the date of commencement of

commercial production. It is settled law laid down by this Court that the

Government is bound to implement its promise, if a person has irrevocably altered
32

his position acting on an unequivocal promise held out by the Government, save

and except in a situation where the withdrawal of the incentive is justified on

grounds of supervening public interest.

9.2.4 On the applicability of Principle of Promissory Estoppel, the respondents

rely upon the decisions of this Court in the cases of Union of India v. Godfrey

Philips India Ltd. (1985) 4 SCC 369, Pournami Oil Mills v. State of Kerala 1986

(Supp) SCC 728, Shri Bakul Oil Industries v. State of Gujarat (1987) 1 SCC 31,

Pawan Alloys & Casting Pvt. Ltd. v. U.P. Electricity Board (1997) 7 SCC 251,

Dai Ichi Karkaria Ltd. v. Union of India (2000) 4 SCC 57, Mahabir Vegetable

Oils (P) Ltd. v. State of Haryana (2006) 3 SCC 620, State of Punjab v. Nestle

India (2004) 6 SCC 465, MRF Ltd. Kottayam v. Assistant Commissioner of Sales

Tax (2006) 6 SCC 702, Southern Petrochemical Industries Co. Ltd. v. ETIO

(2007) 5 SCC 447;

9.2.5 It is submitted therefore that the High Court has correctly applied the settled

Doctrine of Promissory Estoppel by examining whether the facts and the

circumstances leading to the curtailment of incentive were indeed in public interest

or not so as to justify a midway withdrawal of the incentive;

9.3 That in fact the incentive promised under the original notification No.

39/2001 was not dependent upon the extent of value addition. It is submitted that

this concept was introduced only by the impugned notification No. 16 of 2008;
33

9.4 Exemption was granted by way of refund to the duty paid in cash/PLA. The

payment from PLA is not necessarily duty on value addition. The proposition that

the payment from PLA represents such value addition may hold good only if the

inputs used in the manufacture of final products are duty paid and the rates of duty

on inputs and final products are the same;

9.5 The amendments to notification No. 16/2008 dated 27.03.2008, notification

Nos. 33/2008 dated 10.06.2008 and 51/2008 dated 03.10.2008 clearly show that

the Government itself has jettisoned the concept of value addition, introduced with

effect from 27.03.2008, in as much as for finished goods whose starting raw

material was a natural product/mineral, and therefore subject to NIL input stage

duty, the refund in respect of final products using such inputs was fixed at an

arbitrary rate of 75% of the duty paid, without option of a special rate, irrespective

of the supposed value addition;

9.6 Mere misuse of the exemption notification by some of the manufacturers

cannot justify the withdrawal of incentive since there is an adequate machinery

available with the Revenue under the Central Excise Act and under the notification

itself, to curb, deduct, as well as punish the offenders for any such misuse,

otherwise the Revenue would suffer adverse consequences for no fault of theirs. It

is submitted that the notification itself specifically provides for recovery of refunds
34

along with interest if such refunds were wrongly claimed/granted. It is submitted

that therefore the so-called object and purpose for issuing the impugned

notification is irrational and arbitrary and as such cannot be a ground to withdraw

the earlier exemption notification.

FINDINGS:

10. By the impugned Judgment and Order, the High Court has set aside the

subsequent notification No. 16 of 2008 dated 27.03.2008 mainly on the ground that

the same is retrospective and not retro-active in nature and the same is hit by the

Doctrine of Promissory Estoppel. It is the case on behalf of the Union of India that

the subsequent notification is as such in continuation of the earlier notification and

the same is clarificatory and therefore can be made applicable retrospectively. It is

also the case on behalf of the Union of India that the subsequent

notification/amendment in the original notification did not in any way alter the

basis of the original first notification of 2001. It is also the case on behalf of the

Union of India that the subsequent notification of 2008 has been issued in the

public interest and has been issued in exercise of the powers conferred under

Section 5A of the Central Excise Act. Therefore, the questions which are posed for

consideration of this Court are whether in the facts and circumstances of the case

the subsequent notification which has been quashed and set aside by the High
35

Court being notification No. 16 of 2008 dated 27.03.2008 can be said to be

clarificatory in nature and can it be said that it takes away the vested right

conferred pursuant to the earlier notification of 2001 and whether the same can be

made applicable retrospectively and whether the same has been issued in the public

interest and whether the same is hit by the Doctrine of Promissory Estoppel?

11. While considering the aforesaid questions and before considering the nature

of the subsequent notification of 2008, few decisions of this Court on

retrospectivity/clarificatory/applicability of promissory estoppel in the fiscal statute

are required to be referred to, which are as under:

11.1 In the case of Kasinka Trading (supra), in paragraphs 12, 20 and 23, it is

observed and held as follows:

“12. It has been settled by this Court that the doctrine of
promissory estoppel is applicable against the Government also
particularly where it is necessary to prevent fraud or manifest
injustice. The doctrine, however, cannot be pressed into aid to compel
the Government or the public authority “to carry out a representation
or promise which is contrary to law or which was outside the authority
or power of the officer of the Government or of the public authority to
make”. There is preponderance of judicial opinion that to invoke the
doctrine of promissory estoppel clear, sound and positive foundation
must be laid in the petition itself by the party invoking the doctrine
and that bald expressions, without any supporting material, to the
effect that the doctrine is attracted because the party invoking the
doctrine has altered its position relying on the assurance of the
Government would not be sufficient to press into aid the doctrine. In
our opinion, the doctrine of promissory estoppel cannot be invoked in
the abstract and the courts are bound to consider all aspects including
36

the results sought to be achieved and the public good at large, because
while considering the applicability of the doctrine, the courts have to
do equity and the fundamental principles of equity must for ever be
present to the mind of the court, while considering the applicability of
the doctrine. The doctrine must yield when the equity so demands if it
can be shown having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case
that it would be inequitable to hold the Government or the public
authority to its promise, assurance or representation.

20. The facts of the appeals before us are not analogous to the
facts in Indo-Afghan Agencies [(1968) 2 SCR 366 : AIR 1968 SC 718]
or M.P. Sugar Mills [(1979) 2 SCC 409 : 1979 SCC (Tax) 144 : (1979)
2 SCR 641] . In the first case the petitioner therein had acted upon the
unequivocal promises held out to it and exported goods on the specific
assurance given to it and it was in that fact situation that it was held
that Textile Commissioner who had enunciated the scheme was bound
by the assurance thereof and obliged to carry out the promise made
thereunder. As already noticed, in the present batch of cases neither
the notification is of an executive character nor does it represent a
scheme designed to achieve a particular purpose. It was a notification
issued in public interest and again withdrawn in public interest. So far
as the second case (M.P. Sugar Mills case [(1979) 2 SCC 409 : 1979
SCC (Tax) 144 : (1979) 2 SCR 641] ) is concerned the facts were
totally different. In the correspondence exchanged between the State
and the petitioners therein it was held out to the petitioners that the
industry would be exempted from sales tax for a particular number of
initial years but when the State sought to levy the sales tax it was held
by this Court that it was precluded from doing so because of the
categorical representation made by it to the petitioners through letters
in writing, who had relied upon the same and set up the industry.

23. The appellants appear to be under the impression that even
if, in the altered market conditions the continuance of the exemption
may not have been justified, yet, Government was bound to continue
it to give extra profit to them. That certainly was not the object with
which the notification had been issued. The withdrawal of exemption
“in public interest” is a matter of policy and the courts would not bind
the Government to its policy decisions for all times to come,
irrespective of the satisfaction of the Government that a change in the
37

policy was necessary in the “public interest”. The courts, do not
interfere with the fiscal policy where the Government acts in “public
interest” and neither any fraud or lack of bona fides is alleged much
less established. The Government has to be left free to determine the
priorities in the matter of utilisation of finances and to act in the
public interest while issuing or modifying or withdrawing an
exemption notification under Section 25(1) of the Act.”

Thus, it can be seen that this Court has specifically and clearly held that the

doctrine of promissory estoppel cannot be invoked in the abstract and the courts

are bound to consider all aspects including the objective to be achieved and the

public good at large. It has been held that while considering the applicability of

the doctrine, the courts have to do equity and the fundamental principles of equity

must forever be present to the mind of the court, while considering the

applicability of the doctrine. It is further held that the doctrine must yield when the

equity so demands if it can be shown having regard to the facts and circumstances

of the case that it would be inequitable to hold the Government or the public

authority to its promise, assurance or representation. It is further held that an

exemption notification does not make items which are subject to levy of customs

duty etc. as items not leviable to such duty. It only suspends the levy and collection

of customs duty, etc., wholly or partially and subject to such conditions as may be

laid down in the notification by the Government in “public interest”. Such an

exemption by its very nature is susceptible of being revoked or modified or

subjected to other conditions. The supersession or revocation of an exemption
38

notification in the “public interest” is an exercise of the statutory power of the

State under the law itself. It has been further held that under the General Clauses

Act an authority which has the power to issue a notification has the undoubted

power to rescind or modify the notification in a like manner. It has been observed

that the withdrawal of exemption “in public interest” is a matter of policy and the

courts would not bind the Government to its policy decisions for all times to come,

irrespective of the satisfaction of the Government that a change in the policy was

necessary in the “public interest”. It has been held that where the Government

acts in “public interest” and neither any fraud or lack of bonafides is alleged, much

less established, it would not be appropriate for the court to interfere with the

same.

11.2 In the case of Shrijee Sales Corporation (supra), it is observed and held that

the principle of promissory estoppel may be applicable against the Government.

But the determination of applicability of promissory estoppel against public

authority/Government hinges upon balance of equity or “public interest”. In case

there is a supervening public interest, the Government would be allowed to change

its stand; it would then be able to withdraw from representation made by it which

induced persons to take certain steps which may have gone adverse to the interest

of such persons on account of such withdrawal. Once public interest is accepted

as the superior equity which can override individual equity, the aforesaid principle
39

should be applicable even in cases where a period has been indicated for operation

of the promise.

11.3 In the case of Shree Durga Oil Mills (supra), it has been held that when the

withdrawal of exemption is in public interest, the public interest must override any

consideration of private loss or gain. In the said case, the change in policy and

withdrawal of the exemption on the ground of severe resource crunch have been

found to be a valid ground and to be in public interest.

11.4 In the case of Mahaveer Oil Industries (supra), after considering the

decision of this Court in the case of Kasinka Trading (supra), a similar view has

been taken and it has been observed that public interest requires that the State be

held bound by the promise held out by it in such a situation. But this does not

preclude the State from withdrawing the benefit prospectively even during the

period of the Scheme, if public interest so requires. Even in a case where a party

has acted on the promise, if there is any supervening public interest which requires

that the benefit be withdrawn or the scheme be modified, that supervening public

interest would prevail over any promissory estoppel.

11.5 In the case of Shree Sidhbali Steels Ltd. (supra), in paragraphs 32 and 33, it

has been observed and held as follows:

40

“32. The doctrine of promissory estoppel is by now well
recognised and well defined by a catena of decisions of this Court.
Where the Government makes a promise knowing or intending that it
would be acted on by the promisee and, in fact, the promisee, acting in
reliance on it, alters his position, the Government would be held
bound by the promise and the promise would be enforceable against
the Government at the instance of the promisee notwithstanding that
there is no consideration for the promise and the promise is not
recorded in the form of a formal contract as required by Article 229 of
the Constitution. The rule of promissory estoppel being an equitable
doctrine has to be moulded to suit the particular situation. It is not a
hard-and-fast rule but an elastic one, the objective of which is to do
justice between the parties and to extend an equitable treatment to
them. This doctrine is a principle evolved by equity, to avoid injustice
and though commonly named promissory estoppel, it is neither in the
realm of contract nor in the realm of estoppel. For application of the
doctrine of promissory estoppel the promisee must establish that he
suffered in detriment or altered his position by reliance on the
promise.

33. Normally, the doctrine of promissory estoppel is being
applied against the Government and defence based on executive
necessity would not be accepted by the court. However, if it can be
shown by the Government that having regard to the facts as they have
subsequently transpired, it would be inequitable to hold the
Government to the promise made by it, the court would not raise an
equity in favour of the promisee and enforce the promise against the
Government. Where public interest warrants, the principles of
promissory estoppel cannot be invoked. The Government can change
the policy in public interest. However, it is well settled that taking cue
from this doctrine, the authority cannot be compelled to do something
which is not allowed by law or prohibited by law. There is no
promissory estoppel against the settled proposition of law. Doctrine of
promissory estoppel cannot be invoked for enforcement of a promise
made contrary to law, because none can be compelled to act against
the statute. Thus, the Government or public authority cannot be
compelled to make a provision which is contrary to law.”
41

Thus, as held by this Court, when the public interest warrants, the principles of

promissory estoppel cannot be invoked.

It is further held that the rule of promissory estoppel being an equitable

doctrine has to be moulded to suit the particular situation. It is not a hard-and-fast

rule but an elastic one, the objective of which is to do Justice between the parties

and to extend an equitable treatment to them.

12. Now, so far as the decisions relied upon by the learned counsel appearing on

behalf of the respective original writ petitioners-respondents herein are concerned,

once it is held that the subsequent notifications/industrial policies impugned before

the respective High Court are clarificatory in nature and it does not take away any

vested rights conferred under the earlier notifications/industrial policies, none of

the decisions relied upon shall be applicable to the facts of the case on hand.

CASE LAW ON RETROSPECTIVITY/CLARIFICATORY

13. In the case of State Bank of India v. V. Ramakrishnan (2018) 17 SCC 394,

it is observed and held that the presumption against retrospective operation is not

applicable to declaratory statutes. For modern purposes a declaratory Act may be

defined as an Act to remove doubts existing as to the common law, or the meaning

or effect of any statute. Such Acts are usually held to be retrospective.
42

13.1 In the case of State of Bihar v. Ramesh Prasad Verma (2017) 5 SCC 665, it

is observed and held that any legislation or instrument having force of law, if

clarificatory, declaratory or explanatory in nature and purport, will have

retrospective operation especially in the absence of any indication to the contrary

as to retrospectivity either in parent Act or Rules or notifications involved.

13.2 In the case of Union of India v. Martin Lottery Agencies Ltd. (2009) 12

SCC 209, it is observed and held that whether a subordinate legislation or a

parliamentary statute would be held to be clarificatory or declaratory would depend

upon the nature thereof as also the object it seeks to achieve.

13.3 In the case of T.N. Electricity Board v. Status Spg. Mills Ltd. (2008) 7 SCC

353 it is observed and held that a clarificatory order can be given retrospective

effect as it can throw light on substantive provision by principle of contemporanea

expositio.

13.4 In the case of Zile Singh v. State of Haryana (2004) 8 SCC 1, it is observed

that the presumption against retrospective operation is not applicable to declaratory

statutes. In determining, therefore, the nature of the Act, regard must be had to the

substance rather than to the form. If a new Act is “to explain” an earlier Act, it

would be without object unless construed retrospectively. An explanatory Act is
43

generally passed to supply an obvious omission or to clear up doubts as to the

meaning of the previous Act. It is well settled that if a statute is curative or merely

declaratory of the previous law retrospective operation is generally intended. An

amending Act may be purely declaratory to clear a meaning of a provision of the

principal Act which was already implicit. A clarificatory amendment of this nature

will have retrospective effect.

CASE LAW ON “INTERPRETATION OF FISCAL STATUTES”

13.5. In the case of R. K. Garg v. Union of India (1981) 4 SCC 675, this Court

observed and held as follows:

“8. xxx xxx xxx
The Court must always remember that “legislation is directed to
practical problems, that the economic mechanism is highly sensitive
and complex, that many problems are singular and contingent, that
laws are not abstract propositions and do not relate to abstract units
and are not to be measured by abstract symmetry”; “that exact
wisdom and nice adaption of remedy are not always possible” and that
“judgment is largely a prophecy based on meagre and uninterpreted
experience”. Every legislation particularly in economic matters is
essentially empiric and it is based on experimentation or what one
may call trial and error method and therefore it cannot provide for all
possible situations or anticipate all possible abuses. There may be
crudities and inequities in complicated experimental economic
legislation but on that account alone it cannot be struck down as
invalid. The courts cannot, as pointed out by the United States
Supreme Court in Secretary of Agriculture v. Central Roig Refining
Company [94 L Ed 381 : 338 US 604 (1950)] be converted into
tribunals for relief from such crudities and inequities. There may even
be possibilities of abuse, but that too cannot of itself be a ground for
invalidating the legislation, because it is not possible for any
44

legislature to anticipate as if by some divine prescience, distortions
and abuses of its legislation which may be made by those subject to its
provisions and to provide against such distortions and abuses. Indeed,
howsoever great may be the care bestowed on its framing, it is
difficult to conceive of a legislation which is not capable of being
abused by perverted human ingenuity. The Court must therefore
adjudge the constitutionality of such legislation by the generality of its
provisions and not by its crudities or inequities or by the possibilities
of abuse of any of its provisions. If any crudities, inequities or
possibilities of abuse come to light, the legislature can always step in
and enact suitable amendatory legislation. That is the essence of
pragmatic approach which must guide and inspire the legislature in
dealing with complex economic issues.”

13.6 In the of Commissioner of Customs (Import) v. Dilip Kumar and Company

(2018) 9 SCC 1, after considering various decisions on the Interpretation of Fiscal

Statutes, it is ultimately concluded that every taxing statute including, charging,

computation and exemption clauses, at the threshold stage should be interpreted

strictly. Further, though in case of ambiguity in charging provisions, the benefit

necessarily goes in favour of the assessee, but for an exemption notification or

exemption clause the benefit of ambiguity must be strictly interpreted in favour of

the Revenue/State.

It is further observed and held that a person claiming exemption, therefore,

has to establish that his case squarely falls within the exemption notification, and

while doing so, a notification should be construed against the assessee in case of

ambiguity. A person who claims exemption has to establish his case.
45

14. Applying the law laid down by this Court in the aforesaid decisions to the

subsequent notifications/industrial policies which were the subject-matter before

the High Court and for the reasons stated hereinbelow, we are of the opinion that

the respective notifications/industrial policies impugned before the High Courts

can be said to be clarificatory in nature and it can be defined as an Act to remove

doubts. It cannot be said that by the subsequent notifications/industrial policies the

benefits which were accrued/granted under the earlier notifications were sought to

be taken away. It also cannot be said that by the subsequent notifications/industrial

policies, the rights which have been accrued under the earlier notifications had

been taken away.

14.1 The main objective of the earlier respective notifications/industrial policies

was to encourage the entrepreneurs to put new industries in the area so as to

generate employment and for that an incentive was offered to get back by way of

refund the excise duty paid either in cash or PLA, namely, the amount of duty paid

by the manufacturer of goods other than the amount of duty paid by utilization paid

by CENVAT credit. The same was subject to conditions that it will be applied to

the new industrial units, i.e. the units which are set up on and after the publication

of the said notification in the Official Gazette, i.e. not later than 31.07.2003. The

notification was modified from time to time. However, during the operation of the
46

earlier notifications, it was noticed that the provision of granting refund of cash

paid portion of duty and eligibility of credit the entire amount of duty to the buyers

of such excisable goods had prompted certain unscrupulous manufacturers to

indulge in different types of tax evasion tactics. It was revealed on analysis of

cases booked by the Excise Department and even the representations received from

the Industry Association about misuse of exemptions granted by the Government,

which was meant to be available only for genuine manufacturers. It was noticed as

under:

i) Reporting of bogus production by mere issuance of sale invoices

without actual production of goods and supply/clearance of excisable

goods. This would result in availment of CENVAT credit by buyers of

such excisable goods in other parts of the country without actual

production being carried out and in absence of actual receipt of goods.

ii) Reporting of bogus production by such units in these areas where

actual production takes place elsewhere in the country.

iii) Over valuation of goods resulting in availment of excess credit by

buyers.

iv) Goods are supplied by manufacturers, importers to these units without

issuance of sales invoice and these are backed by bogus sale invoices

issued by traders who do not undertake actual supply of goods. The
47

actual supplier of these goods issue bogus duty paid invoices to other

manufacturers who take credit based on such invoices without receipt

of goods.

Therefore, the Government came out with the impugned notifications/industrial

policies that the refund of excise duty shall be provided on actual and calculated on

the basis of actual value addition. On a fair reading of the earlier

notifications/industrial policies, it is clear that the object of granting the refund was

to refund the excise duty paid on genuine manufacturing activities. The intention

would not have been that irrespective of actual manufacturing/manufacturing

activities and even if the goods are not actually manufactured, but are

manufactured on paper, there shall be refund of excise duty which are

manufactured on paper. Therefore, it can be said that the object of the subsequent

notifications/industrial policies was the prevention of tax evasion. It can be said

that by the subsequent notifications/industrial policies, they only rationalizes the

quantum of exemption and proposing rate of refund on the total duty payable on

the genuine manufactured goods. At the time when the earlier notifications were

issued, the Government did not visualize that such a modus operandi would be

followed by the unscrupulous manufacturers who indulge in different types of tax

evasion tactics. It is only by experience and on analysis of cases detected the

Excise Department the Government came to know about such tax evasion tactics
48

being followed by the unscrupulous manufacturers which prompted the

Government to come out with the subsequent notifications which, as observed

hereinabove, was to clarify the refund mechanism so as to provide that excise duty

refund would be allowed only to the extent of duty payable on actual value

addition made by the manufacturer undertaking manufacturing activities in the

concerned areas. The entire genesis of the policy manifesting the intention of the

Government to grant excise duty exemption/refund of excise duty paid was to

provide such exemption only to actual value addition made in the respective areas.

As it was found that there was misuse of excise duty exemption it was considered

expedient in the public interest and with a laudable object of having genuine

industrialization in backward areas or the concerned areas, the subsequent

notifications/industrial policies have been issued by the Government. Therefore,

the subsequent notifications/industrial policies impugned before the respective

High Courts were in the public interest and even issued after thorough analysis of

the cases of tax evasion and even after receipt of the reports. The earlier

notifications were issued under Section 5A of the Central Excise Act and even the

subsequent notifications which were issued in public interest and in the interest of

Revenue were also issued under Section 5A of the Central Excise Act, which can

not be said to be bad in law, arbitrary and/or hit by the doctrine of promissory

estoppel.

49

14.2 The purpose of the original scheme was not to give benefit of refund of the

excise duty paid on the goods manufactured only on paper or in fact not

manufactured at all. As the purpose of the original notifications/incentive schemes

was being frustrated by such unscrupulous manufacturers who had indulged in

different types of tax evasion tactics, the subsequent notifications/industrial

policies have been issued allowing refund of excise duty only to the extent of duty

payable on the actual value addition made by the manufacturers undertaking

manufacturing activities in these areas which is absolutely in consonance with the

incentive scheme and the intention of the Government to provide the excise duty

exemption only in respect of genuine manufacturing activities carried out in these

areas.

14.3 As observed hereinabove, the subsequent notifications/industrial policies do

not take away any vested right conferred under the earlier notifications/industrial

policies. Under the subsequent notifications/industrial policies, the persons who

establish the new undertakings shall be continue to get the refund of the excise

duty. However, it is clarified by the subsequent notifications that the refund of the

excise duty shall be on the actual excise duty paid on actual value addition made

by the manufacturers undertaking manufacturing activities. Therefore, it cannot be

said that subsequent notifications/industrial policies are hit by the doctrine of

promissory estoppel. The respective High Courts have committed grave error in
50

holding that the subsequent notifications/industrial policies impugned before the

respective High Courts were hit by the doctrine of promissory estoppel. As

observed and held hereinabove, the subsequent notifications/industrial policies

which were impugned before the respective High Court can be said to be

clarificatory in nature and the same have been issued in the larger public interest

and in the interest of the Revenue, the same can be made applicable

retrospectively, otherwise the object and purpose and the intention of the

Government to provide excise duty exemption only in respect of genuine

manufacturing activities carried out in the concerned areas shall be frustrated. As

the subsequent notifications/industrial policies are “to explain” the earlier

notifications/industrial policies, it would be without object unless construed

retrospectively. The subsequent notifications impugned before the respective High

Courts as such provide the manner and method of calculating the amount of refund

of excise duty paid on actual manufacturing of goods. The notifications impugned

before the respective High Courts can be said to be providing mode on

determination of the refund of excise duty to achieve the object and purpose of

providing incentive/exemption. As observed hereinabove, they do not take away

any vested right conferred under the earlier notifications. The subsequent

notifications therefore are clarificatory in nature, since it declares the refund of

excise duty paid genuinely and paid on actual manufacturing of goods and not on
51

the duty paid on the goods manufactured only on paper and without undertaking

any manufacturing activities of such goods.

15. In view of the above and for the reasons stated above and once it is held that

the subsequent notifications/industrial policies which were impugned before the

respective High Courts are clarificatory in nature and are issued in public interest

and in the interest of the Revenue and they seek to achieve the original object and

purpose of giving incentive/exemption while inviting the persons to make

investment on establishing the new undertakings and they do not take away any

vested rights conferred under the earlier notifications/industrial policies and

therefore cannot be said to be hit by the doctrine of promissory estoppel, the same

is to be applied retrospectively and they cannot be said to be irrational and/or

arbitrary.

16 Under the circumstances, the respective High Courts have committed a

grave error in quashing and setting aside the subsequent notifications/industrial

policies impugned before the respective High Courts on the ground that they are hit

by the doctrine of promissory estoppel and that they are retrospective and not retro-

active. Consequently, all these appeals are ALLOWED. The impugned

Judgments and Orders passed by the respective High Courts, which are impugned

in the present appeals, quashing and setting aside the subsequent
52

notifications/industrial policies impugned in the respective writ petitions before the

respective High Courts, are hereby quashed and set aside. Consequently, the

original writ petitions filed by the respective original writ petitioners before the

respective High Courts challenging the respective subsequent

notifications/industrial policies stand dismissed and for the reasons stated

hereinabove, the challenge to the respective subsequent notifications/industrial

policies impugned before the respective High Courts FAIL. However, it is

CLARIFIED that the present judgment shall not affect the amount of excise duty

already refunded, meaning thereby, the cases in which the excise duty is already

refunded prior to the subsequent notifications/industrial policies impugned before

the respective High Court, they are not to be reopened. However, it is further

CLARIFIED that the pending refund applications shall be decided as per the

subsequent notifications/industrial policies which were impugned before the

respective High Courts and they shall be decided in accordance with the law and

on merits and as per the subsequent notifications/industrial policies impugned

before the respective High Courts. All these appeals stand disposed of accordingly.

NO COSTS.

16.1 Now, so far as the Civil Appeals @ SLP © Nos. 14751/2013, 14752/2013

and 14753/2013 are concerned, the challenge to notification Nos. 16/2008-CE and
53

33/2008-CE FAIL and the Excise authorities have in fact allowed the refund of

excise in line with the subsequent notification Nos. 16/2008-CE and 33/2008-CE

which are now upheld by this Court, the present appeals deserve to be dismissed

and are accordingly dismissed. NO COSTS

…………………………..J.

(Arun Mishra)

…………………………..J.

(M. R. Shah)

…………………………..J.

(B.R. Gavai)

New Delhi,
April 22, 2020
1

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 19998/2013

M/s. Barak Valley Cement Ltd. …Petitioner(s)

Versus

The Union of India & Ors. …Respondents

WITH
SLP ….CC No. 1787/2014

ORDER

M. R. Shah, J.

Both these petitions arise out of the Interlocutory Order passed by the High

Court of Guwahati in Writ Petition No. 1153/2013 and Writ Petition No.

1151/2013, by which the High Court has refused to grant the relief as prayed for. It
Signature Not Verified

is reported that subsequently by the common judgment and order dated 20.11.2014,
Digitally signed by
NARENDRA PRASAD
Date: 2020.04.22
18:26:12 IST
Reason:

the High Court has disposed of the main Writ Petition Nos. 1153 of 2013 and 1151
2

of 2013 also, and the final Judgment and Orders have also been challenged in the

group of matters being Civil Appeal @ SLP © No. 19386/2015 and Civil Appeal

@ SLP © No. 27046/2015, both these petitions stand dismissed as having become

infructuous.

…………………………..J.

(Arun Mishra)

…………………………..J.

(M. R. Shah)

…………………………..J.

(B.R. Gavai)

New Delhi,
April 22, 2020



Source link