Legal Maxim-"Lex non curat de minimis"-the Law does not care for trifles/Courts will not intervene in disputes where the substance of the controversy is insignificant.
Held-SCN was issued on the ground that the outstanding amount paid beyond due dates should have been paid through the PLA (Personal Ledger Account) and was not permitted
to be paid through CENVAT account in view of the provisions of erstwhile Rule 57AB. Para 8 of the Additional Commissioner's order dated 28.5.2002 explains that no prejudice was
caused to the revenue on account of the delay which was for a very short period. The said para reads as under:-
"8. An illustration would be sufficient to explain the above proviso. Suppose an assessee has to pay a duty of Rs. 1,00,000/- for the period 01.01.2000 to 15.01.2000 but he had only
Rs. 80,000/- in balance in his Cenvat account on 15.01.2000. He brings in fresh inputs on 18.01.2000 which involve a Cenvat credit of Rs.50,000/-. As on 20.01.2000, he has a
balance of Rs. 1,30,000/- in his Cenvat account while has to pay duty of Rs. 1,00,000/- only. It is in such a situation only that the said proviso comes into play. Now, according to the
said proviso, the Cenvat credit by the assessee can be utilized only to the extent which was available on 15.01.2000 i.e. Rs. 80,000/-. Therefore, the amount of Rs. 20,000/- will
remain outstanding for the said fortnight, and the same will have to be paid along with interest interms of relevant portion of Rule 49 reproduced earlier in this order. There is no bar
anywhere for payment of this outstanding amount from the credit of Rs. 50,000/- which has been earned later provided the due interest is also paid. It would be absurd to suggest that
Cenvat account cannot be utilized for payment of arrears of outstanding duties. The interest on duty in terms of Rule 49 partakes the character of duty and hence it to can be paid
from the Cenvat credit without any separate account."
The High Court held that considering the fact that in para 8 of the order dated 28.5.2002 the Additional Commissioner has already explained the provision of the Rule and looking to
the extent of the delay and the principle of "Lex non curat de minimis" (the Law does not care for trifles), the Additional Commissioner was justified in discharging the notice and
in this view of the matter, the Deputy Commissioner, Central Excise also ought not to have issued the order dated 3.7.2002 especially when the delay was very marginal and the
duties were already paid by the petitioners with 24% interest