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Case Law Details

Case Name : Visible Alpha Solutions India Private Limited Vs Commissioner (Allahabad High Court)
Appeal Number : Writ Tax No. 83 of 2024
Date of Judgement/Order : 12/02/2024
Related Assessment Year :

Visible Alpha Solutions India Private Limited Vs Commissioner (Allahabad High Court)

Introduction: In a significant judgment, the Allahabad High Court has set a precedent that is poised to alter the landscape of filing appeals under the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) regime. The case, Visible Alpha Solutions India Private Limited Vs Commissioner, addressed the contentious issue regarding the necessity of submitting self-certified copies of orders when appeals are filed electronically. This judgment stemmed from an order dated October 18, 2023, where the petitioner’s appeal was rejected by the respondent on the grounds of being time-barred, owing to the alleged non-submission of a self-certified copy of the order within the stipulated time as mandated by Rule 108 of the CGST Rules, 2017.

Detailed Analysis: The crux of the matter revolved around the interpretation of Rule 108 of the CGST Rules, which outlines the procedure for filing an appeal to the Appellate Authority. The petitioner contended that the rule exempts the requirement of filing a self-certified copy of the order when the appeal is filed electronically on the common portal. The Court’s deliberation focused on clarifying the provisions of Rule 108, particularly the provisos that were misinterpreted by the appellate authority in rejecting the appeals as time-barred.

The High Court’s analysis highlighted that the first proviso to Rule 108 applies exclusively to scenarios where the decision or order appealed against is not uploaded on the common portal. In contrast, the case at hand involved appeals that were electronically filed, rendering the requirement moot. The Court emphasized the shift towards digital filings in the CGST framework, acknowledging the system’s efficiency in streamlining the appeal process.

Allahabad HC Quashed order rejecting GST appeals as time-barred; Appeals to be reheard

Conclusion: The Allahabad High Court’s ruling in Visible Alpha Solutions India Private Limited Vs Commissioner unequivocally supports the digitization efforts within the CGST appeal process. By quashing the order that misapplied the provisions of Rule 108, the Court has not only provided relief to the petitioner but also set a clear precedent that underscores the importance of adhering to the digital protocol established by the CGST Rules. This landmark decision is expected to encourage more taxpayers to utilize the electronic filing system, thereby promoting efficiency and reducing the administrative burden on both the appellants and the appellate authorities. The judgment serves as a reminder of the evolving nature of tax administration in India, embracing technological advancements to foster a more accessible and transparent appeal mechanism.

FULL TEXT OF THE JUDGMENT/ORDER OF ALLAHABAD HIGH COURT

1. Heard Sri Mohit Gupta, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner and Sri Amit Mahajan, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondents.

2. This is a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India wherein the petitioner is aggrieved by the order dated October 18, 2023 passed by the respondent No.1/Commissioner, CGST (Appeals), NOIDA rejecting the two appeals filed by the petitioner on the ground that the same were time barred, as the self-certified copy of the decision or order was not made available within time as per proviso to Rule 108 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Rules, 2017 (hereinafter referred to as “the Rules”).

3. Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner has referred to Rule 108 of the Rules to indicate that when the appeal is filed electronically and uploaded on the common portal in FORM GST APL-01, there is no requirement to file self-certified copy of the decision. Both the proviso to Rule 108 of the Rules apply only in the case when the appeal is not uploaded on common portal. Rule 108 of the Rules is delineated below for clarification:

108. Appeal to the Appellate Authority.- (1) An appeal to the Appellate Authority under sub-section (1) of section 107 shall be filed in FORM GST APL-01, along with the relevant documents, either electronically or otherwise as may be notified by the Commissioner, and a provisional acknowledgement shall be issued to the appellant immediately.

(2) The grounds of appeal and the form of verification as contained in FORM GST APL- 01 shall be signed in the manner specified in rule 26.

(3) Where the decision or order appealed against is uploaded on the common portal, a final acknowledgement, indicating appeal number shall be issued in FORM GST APL-02 by the Appellate Authority or an officer authorised by him in this behalf and the date of issue of the provisional acknowledgement shall be considered as the date of filing of appeal:

Provided that where the decision or order appealed against is not uploaded on the common portal, the appellant shall submit a self-certified copy of the said decision or order within a period of seven days from the date of filing of FORM GST APL-01 and a final acknowledgement, indicating appeal number, shall be issued in FORM GST APL-02 by the Appellate Authority or an officer authorised by him in this behalf, and the date of issue of the provisional acknowledgement shall be considered as the date of filing of appeal:

Provided further that where the said self-certified copy of the decision or order is not submitted within a period of seven days from the date of filing of FORM GST APL-01, the date of submission of such copy shall be considered as the date of filing of appeal.”

4. Upon a perusal of the impugned order, it clearly appears that the appeal was electronically filed within the time permitted, that is, three months as per Section 107 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017. Furthermore, the first and second proviso to Rule 108 of the Rules would not apply, as is clear from the literal interpretation of the first proviso itself.

5. In light of the above, the impugned order dated October 18, 2023 is quashed and set aside with a direction upon the appellate authority to de novo hear the appeals filed by the petitioner and pass a reasoned order on merits within a period of three months from date.

6. With the aforesaid directions, the writ petition is allowed.

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