“Two Coordinate Benches (Three Judges)” have taken what would appear to be contrary views with regard to purport and effect and the interconnection between Section 3 and 4 of The Central Excise Act, 1944 (“Act”). The First Coordinate Bench in Union of India v. Bombay Tyre International Ltd., (1984) 1 SCC 467 comprised of A.N. Sen, P.N. Bhagwati and R.S. Pathak, JJ. The Second Coordinate Bench in Commissioner of Central Excise v. Acer Ltd., (2004) 8 SCC 173 comprised of N. Santosh Hegde, S.B. Sinha and Tarun Chatterjee, JJ.
Judicial discipline demands another Coordinate Bench should not venture into the issues raised or even attempt to express any opinion on the merits of either of the views expressed. The following Questions have thus been Referred to a Larger Bench by Ranjan Gogoi, Arun Mishra and Prafulla C. Pant, JJ. in Commissioner of Central Excise, Indore v. Grasim Industries Ltd., [Civil Appeal No. 2705 of 2012]:
- Whether Section 4 of the Act (as substituted with effect from 01.07.2000) and the definition of ‘Transaction Value’ in Clause (d) of Sub-section (3) of Section 4 are subject to Section 3 of the Act?
- Whether Sections 3 and 4 of the Act, despite being interlinked, operate in different fields and what is their real scope and ambit?
- Whether the concept of ‘Transaction Value’ makes any material departure from the deemed normal price concept of the erstwhile Section 4(1)(a) of the Act?