Role of Central Excise Commissionerate
Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) implements law and procedures of Central Excise law by several regional units called Central Excise Commissionerates, each covering assessees spread over a specific geographic area.
The Commissioner of Central Excise is the overall administrative head of the Commissionerate. Administratively, each Commissionerate is a 3-tier set-up with its Headquarters at the helm, 5 or 6 Divisions at the second level and 5 or 6 Ranges under each Division at the third and final level.
At Commissionerate Headquarters, the Commissioner is assisted by Additional Commissioners, Joint Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners in addition to Superintendents, Inspectors and other ministerial staff. There are normally several branches/sections viz., Technical Section, Internal Audit Section, Headquarters Preventive Unit, Judicial Cell, Legal Cell, Maritime Section, Prosecution Cell, Vigilance Section.
The Technical Section is the a source of supply of all developments to the departmental officers and also to the assessees/trade through issue of Circulars and Trade Notices. Individual assessee desirous of getting Trade Notices can do so by making annual subscriptions. This Section also examines doubts raised by field officers and trade and enable clarifications. This Section is also responsible for arranging face-to-face periodical meetings of Senior Central Excise Officers with various Trade Associations and Chambers of Commerce.
The Internal Audit Section is responsible for periodical audit of accounts of the registered assessees. Such audit is carried out by nominated Groups/Parties headed by Superintendents, under prior intimation. Of late a new system of audit has been introduced called EA 2000 which will be the only interaction media between the assessee and the Department in the near future.
The Headquarters Preventive Unit, unlike the Audit Groups, keeps secret track of duty payment records of individual assessees, engages informers, collects informations, through market and other sources, makes surprise visit to the factories, whether registered or not, and brings to book duty evasion indulged in by them.
The offence cases registered are adjudicated by the Senior Officers of the Department who are vested with quasi-judicial powers, depending upon the duty involved in a particular offence and the Adjudication section endeavors to achieve this objective by adhering to the principles of natural justice. The officers in the level of Superintendents and Inspectors assist the adjudicating authorities. The existing powers of various Central Excise officers, as on date, are as under:-
The Legal and Judicial Cells of the Commissionerate Headquarters have also equal role to play, even though the officers of these Sections do not visit factories. While Legal cell attend to all court matters, the Judicial Cell is responsible for filing departmental appeals before the Commissioner (Appeals) and Tribunal, wherever necessary against the adjudication orders passed by the lower departmental authorities. The judicial cell is also responsible for defending the appeals filed by the parties/assessees.
The Prosecution Cell is responsible for the entire prosecution proceedings as and when sanctioned by the Commissioner against any Proprietor, firm, Company or individual who are found guilty of an offence punishable with imprisonment in terms of Section 9 of the Central Excise Act, 1944. The responsibility of this Cell starts from arresting a person found guilty, remanding him to judicial custody to arrange for a speedy and successful trial before the competent Magisterial Court.
The Maritime Section in the Headquarters office exercises the overall control over the exports taking place from the entire Commissionerate jurisdiction.
The last but not the least, the Vigilance Cell at the Headquarters level functions as a watch-dog and in the event of any complaint against the departmental officers, this Cell conducts necessary enquiry and take disciplinary action against the erring official as warranted under the Rules. The Vigilance Cell also attends to and redress general grievance aired by the Trade. This Cell is also responsible for conducting periodical meeting of Public Grievance Committee to help Trade and also the Staff Grievance Committee to attend to staff side grievance.
Deputy Commissioner or Assistant Commissioner is the head of the Division. Each Division of the Commissionerate is a mini Commissionerate within the Commissionerate in the sense, all Branches/Sections would be available similar to Headquarters Commissionerate to cater to the respective divisional jurisdiction. The Divisional officer maintains close contact with all Range Offices under his control through correspondence/visits/inspections.
Superintendent of central excise is the head of the Range and is assisted by Inspectors who are allotted group of factories under his control. All the assessee-factories, on their part, file monthly/quarterly returns of goods dispatched from the factory and duty paid thereon and the officers are to ensure correctness of the duty exemptions availed by the factories, CENVAT availed, duty paid by them and data furnished in their returns. The officers in the Range are also supposed to visit factories as per norms fixed for study of raw material consumption vis-à-vis final products manufactured and also for examination and sealing of the export consignment.