Supreme Court explains UOI vs. Dharmendra Textile 306 ITR 277 (SC)
Held in the context of s. 11AC of the Excise Act (which provides that where any duty of excise has not been .. paid .. by reasons of fraud, collusion or any wilful mis-statement or suppression of facts ….. or contravention of any of the provisions of this Act … with intent to evade payment of duty, the person who is liable to pay duty as determined under sub-section (2) of section 11A, shall also be liable to pay a penalty equal to the duty so determined) that
(1) “At this stage, we need to examine the recent decision of this Court in Dharamendra Textile (supra). In almost every case relating to penalty, the decision is referred to on behalf of the Revenue as if it laid down that in every case of non-payment or short payment of duty the penalty clause would automatically get attracted and the authority had no discretion in the matter. One of us (Aftab Alam,J.) was a party to the decision in Dharmendra Textile and we see no reason to understand or read that decision in that manner.”
(2) After quoting from Dharmendra Textiles “we fail to see how the decision in Dharamendra Textile can be said to hold that section 11AC would apply to every case of non-payment or short payment of duty regardless of the conditions expressly mentioned in the section for its application.”
(3) “There is another very strong reason for holding that Dharamendra Textile could not have interpreted section 11AC in the manner as suggested because in that case that was not even the stand of the revenue.”
(4) “The decision in Dharamendra Textile must, therefore, be understood to mean that though the application of section 11AC would depend upon the existence or otherwise of the conditions expressly stated in the section, once the section is applicable in a case the concerned authority would have no discretion in quantifying the amount and penalty must be imposed equal to the duty determined under sub-section (2) of section 11A. That is what Dharamendra Textile decides”.