Common registration can’t be denied, merely on the ground that both units situated across the road, have separate electric connections

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THE CCE, Thane-II rejected the application filed by the appellant for single registration in respect of their two units situated across the road.

In the first round, the Tribunal had remanded the matter to look into the facts specified for common registration in view of the instructions mentioned in Central Excise Supplementary Manual.

In de novo proceedings, the Commissioner vide the impugned order once against rejected the request for single registration on the ground that both the units have separate electric connection/electric meter. Moreover, he opined that there is no difficulty for the appellant continuing as different units since they were working under Rule 4(5)(a) of the CENVAT Credit Rules, 2004.

Being aggrieved, the appellant is again before the CESTAT.

None appeared on behalf of the appellant.

In the grounds of appeal, the appellant submitted that they have fulfilled all the requirements mentioned in para 2.2 of Chapter 2 of CBECs Supplementary instructions and as such the appellants are eligible for single registration. They have also submitted that in both the units they have common labour/work force, common administration/work management, common sales tax registration, common Income Tax assessment and common balance sheet; that the judgment of Modison Metal Ltd. – 2008-TIOL-941-CESTAT-AHM relied upon by them was discarded by the CCE without giving any reason.

The AR supported the order of the original authority.

Para 2.2 of Chapter 2 of CBECs Supplementary instructions reads:-

“Separate registration is required in respect of separate premises except in cases where two or more premises are actually part of the same factory (where processes are interlinked), but are segregated by public road, canal or railway-line. The fact that the two premises are part of the same factory will be decided by the Commissioner of Central Excise based on factors, such as:

(1) Interlinked process product manufactured/produced in one premise are substantially used in other premises for manufacture of final products.

(2) Large number of raw materials are common and received/proposed to be received commonly for both/all the premises

(3) Common electricity supplies.

(4) There is common labour /work force

(5) Common administration/ works management.

(6) Common sales tax registration and assessment

(7) Common Income Tax assessment

(8) Any other factor as may be indicative of inter-linkage of the manufacturing processes.

This is neither an exhaustive list of indicators nor each indicator is necessarily in each case. The Commissioner has to decide the issue from case to case.”

The Bench adverted to the above instructions and observed –

+ As per the facts of the present case, both the units are separated by a public road and process is same being goods of both the units are used in each other, raw material in both the units are common, there is a common labour work force, common administration/work management, common sales tax registration, common Income Tax assessment and common balance sheet etc.

+ As per the para 2.2 of Chapter 2, it is not necessary that all the factors should be fulfilled. On a reading of the same, I am of the view that even if one of the factors is fulfilled, the common registration can be issued.

+ The Commissioner rejected the application of the appellant only on the ground that there are different electricity connections in both the units which is insufficient for rejection of application as all other factors are admittedly fulfilled.

Noting that the judgment relied upon by the appellant is directly applicable and the Commissioner, without assigning any reason, had brushed aside the same, the CESTAT concluded that the appellant had fulfilled not only one but most of the factors provided in para 2.2 of Chapter 2 and, therefore, they had made out a fit case for grant of single registration in respect of two units.

The impugned order was set aside and the appeal was allowed.

Citation: (See 2017-TIOL-4204-CESTAT-MUM)