Introduction: This article examines a recent order by the Madras High Court in the case of Cholaa Tapes vs. Additional Commissioner. The petitioner challenges the rejection of their GST appeal on grounds of limitation, seeking a further direction from the court. The Madras HC discusses the availability of benefits under the Amnesty Scheme, even after an appeal is rejected on limitation, offering insights into the case and its implications.
Detailed Analysis: Cholaa Tapes filed a writ petition challenging the dismissal of their GST appeal by the first respondent, citing a delay of 11 days in filing the appeal. The petitioner contends that the order they challenged was not uploaded on the GST portal on the date of its passing but only on 12.09.2022. As a result, the petitioner filed the appeal online on 03.11.2022. However, the first respondent mechanically dismissed the appeal as time-barred.
The learned counsel for the petitioner argued that the dismissal overlooked the circumstances of the delayed uploading of the order summary on the GST portal. The petitioner sought a further direction to the first respondent to consider the appeal on merits and in accordance with the law.
The senior panel counsel for the respondents highlighted the availability of the Amnesty Scheme from 2.11.2023. Under this scheme, if the appellate authority rejects an appeal on the ground of limitation, aggrieved parties are entitled to avail benefits. The counsel suggested that the petitioner can benefit from this scheme.
In response, the petitioner’s counsel requested liberty for the petitioner to avail the Amnesty Scheme.
The Madras High Court, upon perusal of the Amnesty Scheme, noted that even if an appeal is rejected on the basis of limitation, assessees are entitled to avail Amnesty benefits. The court directed the petitioner to utilize the Amnesty Scheme, and the respondent was instructed to consider and pass orders in accordance with the scheme and the law.
Conclusion: The Madras High Court’s decision offers a significant precedent by allowing amnesty benefits under the GST scheme even after the rejection of an appeal on the grounds of limitation. This emphasizes the court’s recognition of unique circumstances, such as delayed uploading of orders, and aligns with the principle of providing relief to taxpayers under specific schemes. The case sheds light on the flexibility of the Amnesty Scheme and its application in scenarios where appeals face rejection due to procedural aspects like timing.
FULL TEXT OF THE JUDGMENT/ORDER OF MADRAS HIGH COURT
This Writ Petition is filed challenging the order passed by the first respondent dated 15.09.2023, dismissing the appeal filed by the petitioner on the grounds of limitation and for a further direction to the first respondent to decide the appeal filed by the petitioner on merits and in accordance with law.
2. The case of the petitioner is that by the order impugned, the first respondent has rejected the appeal filed by the petitioner citing the reason that there was a delay of 11 days in filing the appeal.
3. The learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the first respondent has dismissed the appeal filed by the petitioner for the reason that there was a delay of 11 days in filing the appeal, by overlooking the fact that the order dated 24.6.2022 which was challenged by the petitioner in the appeal was not uploaded in the GST portal on the very same date when it was passed, but only on 12.09.2022, the summary of the order in Form GST DRC-07 was uploaded which enabled the petitioner to file appeal through online on 03.11.2022. However, the first respondent dismissed the appeal as time barred in a mechanical manner and therefore the learned counsel prayed for a further direction to the first respondent to take up the appeal on file and decide the same on merits and in accordance with law.
4. The learned Senior Panel Counsel appearing for the respondents submitted that Amnesty Scheme is available with effect from 2.11.2023, wherein, in the event, if the appellate authority rejected the appeal on the ground of limitation, those assessees, aggrieved over such rejection, are entitled to avail the benefit available in terms of paragraph 1 of the said scheme. Therefore, he submitted that the petitioner can very well enjoy the benefit available under the said scheme.
5. In reply, the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner submitted that liberty may be granted to the petitioner to avail such scheme.
6. Heard the submissions made by the learned counsel for the petitioner as well as respondent.
7. On perusal of Amnesty Scheme introduced by the respondent, it appears that in the event, if any appeal is rejected by the respondent on the aspect of limitation, still the assessees are entitled for availing Amnesty Therefore, the petitioner is directed to avail the Amnesty Scheme, in which case, the respondent shall consider the same and pass orders in accordance with the scheme and law
8. With the above direction, this writ petition is disposed of. No costs. Consequently, the connected miscellaneous petition is closed.