Introduction: The Kerala High Court recently dismissed a writ petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India challenging an order passed by the Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal, South Zonal Bench, Bangalore. The petitioner sought restoration of two appeals dismissed by the Tribunal.
Background: The petitioner had initially approached the High Court against an order-in-original, filing W.P(C.) No.12054/2017. Simultaneously, the petitioner had also filed an appeal before the Tribunal along with an application for the condonation of delay. However, the petitioner did not bring the High Court’s order to the notice of the Tribunal.
Tribunal’s Decision: The Tribunal, unaware of the High Court’s order, dismissed both appeals, citing the filing of two remedies against the same impugned order at two forums. Subsequently, the petitioner filed a restoration application after more than six years from the Tribunal’s order.
Dismissal by Tribunal: The Tribunal dismissed the restoration application, noting the delay of over five years and the lack of reliable reasons justifying the delay. The Tribunal also considered the High Court’s order, stating that the petitioner was not entitled to relief.
Kerala High Court’s Decision: The petitioner approached the Kerala High Court, challenging the Tribunal’s order. However, the High Court found the writ petition to be wholly misconceived and not maintainable. The court observed that there was no jurisdictional error or illegality in the Tribunal’s order, leading to the dismissal of the writ petition.
Conclusion: The Kerala High Court’s decision emphasizes the importance of timely and justified actions in legal proceedings. The dismissal of the writ petition underscores the need for parties to present reliable reasons for delays and to follow proper legal procedures.
FULL TEXT OF THE JUDGMENT/ORDER OF KERALA HIGH COURT
The present writ petition has been filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India impugning Ext.P3 order passed by the Customs, Excise& Service Tax Appellate Tribunal, South Zonal Bench, Bangalore, in C/21130/2017-DB, dated 03.10.2017, whereby the Tribunal vide final order No.22375/2017 had dismissed both the appeals in limine. The petitioner had filed an appeal before the Tribunal against the order-in-original No.51/2017 dated 02.02.2017 along with an application for condonation of delay. Earlier the petitioner had approached this Court against the very same order in original by filing W.P(C.) No.12054/2017. No one appeared on behalf of the petitioner before the Tribunal. As the order passed in W.P(C.) No.12054/2017 was not brought before the Tribunal, the Tribunal dismissed the two appeals by the impugned orders on the ground that simultaneously two remedies against the same impugned order could not have been undertaken at two forums.
2. This order was passed on 03.10.2017, the petitioner has approached this Court after more than six years from the date of the order. In the meantime, the petitioner had filed an application for restoration of the appeals before the Tribunal. However, the same came to be dismissed vide Miscellaneous Order No. 20246/2023 dated 05.06.2023. The Tribunal took note of the order passed by this Court in W.P(C.) No.12054/2017, wherein it was observed “Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, hearing the respective counsel and bearing in mind the proposition of law laid down by this Court in the afore-quoted judgment, I think, petitioner is not entitled to get any relief invoking the powers conferred on this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, there being no illegality, arbitrariness or other legal infirmities justifying interference.” The restoration application is also came to be filed after 5 years from the date of dismissal. The Tribunal took note of these facts and found that there were no reliable reasons submitted by the applicant justifying the delay.
I do not find that the Tribunal order suffers from any jurisdictional error of law or the Tribunal has committed any illegality. The writ petition is wholly misconceived and not maintainable. Therefore, the writ petition is hereby dismissed.