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Case Law Details

Case Name : Manjunatha Oil Mill Vs Assistant Commissioner (ST) (FAC) (Andhra Pradesh High Court)
Appeal Number : W.P.Nos. 2153, 1767, 1780, 1964, 1970 and 2177 of 2024
Date of Judgement/Order : 02/02/2024
Related Assessment Year :

Manjunatha Oil Mill Vs Assistant Commissioner (ST) (FAC) (Andhra Pradesh High Court)

Introduction: In a recent judgment, the Andhra Pradesh High Court, in the case of Manjunatha Oil Mill vs Assistant Commissioner (ST), provided relief by setting aside the Impugned Rejection Order. The court’s decision, dated February 2, 2024, addresses a crucial scenario where a tax appeal was rejected due to a technical glitch in the pre-deposit submission process. Hon’ble Andhra Pradesh High Court  set aside the Impugned Rejection Order in case where the appeal filed was rejected on the ground that, pre-deposit was made through Form GST DRC-03 instead of the required Form APL-01, due to technical glitch.

Facts:

Manjunatha Oil Mill (“the Petitioner”) aggrieved by the rejection of appeals filed against the assessment orders passed by the Revenue Department (“the Respondent”), filed a writ petition, on the ground that, the pre-deposit was made through Form GST DRC-03 instead of the required Form APL-01 due to technical glitch, therefore, the Respondent is not empowered to consider the amount paid through Form GST DRC-03 as 10 percent pre-deposit for filing of appeal.

Held:

The Hon’ble Andhra Pradesh High Court in the case of W.P. No. 2153 of 2024 dated February 02, 2024, set aside the appeal rejection order and remanded back the matter to the Respondent for further consideration on factual aspects and condonation of delay.

Relevant Provision:

Section 107(6) of the CGST Act:

“(6) No appeal shall be filed under sub-section (1), unless the appellant has paid-

(a) in full, such part of the amount of tax, interest, fine, fee and penalty arising from the impugned order, as is admitted by him; and

(b) a sum equal to ten per cent. of the remaining amount of tax in dispute arising from the said order subject to a maximum of twenty-five crore rupees, in relation to which the appeal has been filed.

Provided that no appeal shall be filed against an order under sub-section (3) of section 129, unless a sum equal to twenty-five per cent. of the penalty has been paid by the appellant.”

Conclusion: The judgment by the Andhra Pradesh High Court serves as a crucial precedent, highlighting the importance of considering technical glitches in the context of tax appeals. The decision underscores the need for a fair evaluation of circumstances, especially when procedural violations occur due to factors beyond the appellant’s control.

 FULL TEXT OF THE JUDGMENT/ORDER OF ANDHRA PRADESH HIGH COURT

Heard Sri M.V.J.K. Kumar, learned counsel for the petitioners and the learned Government Pleader for Commercial Tax-II.

2. The grievance of the petitioners in all the batch of Writ Petitions is common as ventilated by the learned counsel for the petitioners. The Writ Petitioners intended to prefer appeals against the Assessment Orders passed in the above batch of Writ Petitions and when they intended to make pre-deposit of 10% of the demanded tax as a condition precedent for preferring the appeal through the official Web Portal under Form APL-01 on 19.11.2022, due to some technical glitche, the Web Portal did not permit them to make the payment and therefore, the petitioners made the payment through Form DRC-03 on 19.11.2022 and the same was accepted by the Web Portal. The learned counsel would submit that however their appeals were rejected on the main ground that the petitioners have made the pre-deposit through Form GST DRC-03 instead of the prescribed Form APL-01 and the said authority has no power to consider such payments made in the Form GST DRC-03 as 10% pre-deposit for registering the appeals. He would further submits that it is only because of the technical glitch that was occurred on 19.11.2022, the petitioners could not make the pre-deposit through the prescribed Format APL-01 and had to pay through Form GST DRC 03 and therefore, the said act of the petitioners may not be treated as a willful one.

3. Learned counsel would further submit that since in the process delay was occurred, the petitioners have filed separate applications to condone delay, but the Respondent No.2 in the impugned Orders have not mentioned about the delay condoning petitions and without considering the reasons for delay, simply rejected the appeals on the ground that the pre-deposit of 10% was made through a wrong format i.e., Form GST DRC-03. The learned counsel thus requested the Court to direct the respondent No.2 to consider the reasons submitted by the petitioners for the delay in filing the appeals in the right perspective and pass appropriate orders.

4. Learned Government Pleader opposed the petitions stating that when the Act prescribed Form APL-01 to make the pre-deposit, the petitioners could not have chosen another format, which is a violation of the procedure, and therefore, the respondent No.2 had rightly rejected the appeals.

5. On perusal of the material filed along with the Writ Petitions, the petitioners have filed the copies of the delay condoning petitions submitted to the Respondent No.2. Thus, we find force in the submission of the learned counsel for the petitioners that the petitioners have filed delay condoning petitions before the respondent No.2. However, in the impugned Orders, nothing is mentioned about the filing of the delay condoning petitions and the non satisfaction over the reasons submitted for such delay. Be that as it may, as rightly submitted by the learned counsel for the petitioners, the appeals were rejected on the main ground that the pre-deposit was made through wrong format i.e., Form GST DRC-03 instead of Form APL-01.

6. In this regard, the submission of the learned counsel for the petitioners is that due to technical glitch, they had to make the pre-deposit through Form GST DRC-03 instead of APL-01 and it is not a willful act. Whether the petitioners were forced to make payment of pre-deposit through Form GST DRC-03 instead of APL-01 is a question of fact, which has to be considered in the light of other surrounding facts. In our considered view, the respondent No.2 is the proper authority to consider the above factual aspects and to decide the fate of delay condoning petitions in right perspective. Therefore, the impugned Rejection Orders are set aside and the matters are remanded back to the respondent No.2 with a direction to consider the reasons in the delay condoning petitions submitted by the petitioners and after affording an opportunity of hearing to them pass any appropriate orders in accordance with governing law and rules expeditiously.

7. Since it is submitted that pursuant to the rejection of appeals, the respondent No.3 has attached the bank account of the petitioners for enforcement of the assessment orders, and pleaded urgency in the matters, we direct the petitioners to appear before the Respondent No.2 on 08.02.2024 and the respondent No.2 shall take up the matters on that day.

8. Accordingly, all the Writ Petitions are disposed of. No costs.

As a sequel thereto, miscellaneous petitions, if any, pending shall stand closed.

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(Author can be reached at info@a2ztaxcorp.com)

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