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September 24, 2022

GST Registration Cancellation: The HC directs appropriate charges in the GST Portal architecture

by CA Shivam Jaiswal in GST

GST Registration Cancellation: The HC directs appropriate charges in the GST Portal architecture

Facts and issues of the case

All writ petitioners have challenged orders passed on various dates cancelling their registrations under the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (in short ‘Act’). The petitioners have missed the bus in regard to several opportunities that were extended to them post-cancellation of the registrations by way of Amnesty Schemes wherein dealers were granted extension of time to take necessary steps to restore the cancelled registrations.

The Act contains two in built modes to enable revocation of cancellation or restoration thereof. The first is the remedy under Section 30 which benefit has to be availed within thirty days from date of cancellation of order. None of these petitioners in this batch have filed application in terms of Section 30.

Observation by the court

The second remedy relates to filing of an appeal before the Appellate Authority and has to be availed within a period of three months from the date of communication of the cancellation order to the dealer. Barring some petitioners, that is, petitioners in WP.Nos.18698, 17850, 14931, 14369  and 18306 of 2022, WP.Nos.10663 of 2022 and none of the petitioners before me have availed this remedy.

The Petitioner in WP.No.14931 of 2022 is stated to have availed appellate remedy, though belatedly with a delay of one year and eight days. The appeal was accompanied by returns for a period of six months with the admitted tax. In the case of petitioner in WP.No.17850 of 2022 the delay is stated to be of a period of two years, three months and three days. The appeal was accompanied by returns for a period of six months with the admitted tax.

In the case of petitioner in WP.No.18698 of 2022, the delay is stated to be for a period of 165 days. The appeal was accompanied by returns for a period of six months with the admitted tax. In all the above cases, the appellate authority rejected the appeals as against which the present writ petitions have been filed. In WP.No.14369 of 2022, the order of cancellation had come to be passed prematurely, when the default in filing return was itself only for one month, contrary to the statutory provision. Be that as it may, return for the month of September 2020 is stated to have been filed along with admitted tax for both months.

All other petitioners have approached this Court direct, by way of writ petition, seeking the relief of restoration. A learned Single Judge of this Court in a batch of writ petitions in WP.Nos.25048 of 2021 and batch has, by way of an order dated 31.01.2022, considered the cases of identically placed petitioners as before me. In the cases of those petitioners as well, orders of revocation had been passed and some of the petitioners had approached the assessing authority in terms of Section 30 seeking revocation, some had appealed the orders of cancellation under Section 107 and others had merely approached this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

The learned Judge has considered interim events including the position that Amnesty Schemes had not been availed by those petitioners. In fine, the learned Judge accepts the case of the petitioners, imposing certain conditions in para 229 of the order. A specific query was put to the State Counsel as to whether order dated 31.01.2022 has attained finality. He brings to my notice a communication that has been addressed by the Additional Chief Secretary/Commissioner of Commissioner of Commercial Tax to the GST Council on 31.03.2022 seeking the view of the Council and its guidance/directions in regard to the order of this Court dated 31.01.2022.

There has been no response to the above communication and the State, like Samuel Beckett’s Godot, has merely been waiting, much past the time for filing of writ appeal before this Court. In my view, this tantamounts to their having accepted the order of this Court dated 31.01.2022 as a conscious decision has been taken by the State to let the limitation slip. The State also confirms that the directions as set out in order dated 31.01.2022 have been implemented in the case of all those petitioners.

 Conclusion

These writ petitions are allowed in the above terms. No costs. Connected miscellaneous petitions are closed.

M.-Mallika-Mahal-Vs-Commissioner-of-Central-GST-and-Central-Excise-Madras-High-Court.

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