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Case Law Details

Case Name : Ajayraj Construction Pvt Ltd & Anr. Vs Commissioner of Central Tax (Delhi High Court)
Appeal Number : W.P.(C) 4145/2024 & CM APPL. 16942/2024
Date of Judgement/Order : 09/05/2024
Related Assessment Year :

Ajayraj Construction Pvt Ltd & Anr. Vs Commissioner of Central Tax (Delhi High Court)

The case of Ajayraj Construction Pvt Ltd & Anr. vs Commissioner of Central Tax before the Delhi High Court revolves around a dispute regarding a show cause notice (SCN) issued by the Joint Commissioner of Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST), Delhi East. The impugned Order in Original dated 19.12.2023, disposed of the show cause notice dated 28.04.2021, prompting the petitioner to challenge it.

In the judgment, the court noted that although the petitioner did not submit a written reply to the SCN, they were granted multiple opportunities for a personal hearing. However, neither did the petitioner submit a written reply nor did anyone appear for them during the hearings. Consequently, the Adjudicating Authority proceeded with the matter without considering any response from the petitioner.

During the proceedings, it came to light that the petitioner had indeed filed a reply, but it was not taken into account by the Adjudicating Authority when passing the impugned order. Recognizing this oversight, the court set aside the impugned order and restored the show cause notice to the Adjudicating Authority’s record.

The court directed the Adjudicating Authority to reconsider the show cause notice in accordance with the law and provide the petitioner with another opportunity for a personal hearing. However, the court also cautioned that if the petitioner failed to appear again, the Adjudicating Authority could proceed with the adjudication of the notice ex parte, taking into consideration the reply previously filed by the petitioner.

It’s essential to note that the court explicitly stated that it neither considered nor commented on the merits and contentions of either party. The judgment solely focused on the procedural aspect of the case, ensuring that the petitioner’s response was appropriately considered before reaching a decision. All rights and contentions of both parties were preserved for further consideration.

In summary, the Delhi High Court’s judgment in Ajayraj Construction Pvt Ltd & Anr. vs Commissioner of Central Tax highlights the importance of due process in administrative proceedings. Despite the petitioner’s initial failure to submit a written reply, the court intervened to rectify the oversight of the Adjudicating Authority and ensure that the petitioner’s response was duly considered before reaching a decision. The judgment underscores the principle of natural justice and the right to be heard, reaffirming the significance of procedural fairness in legal proceedings.

FULL TEXT OF THE JUDGMENT/ORDER OF DELHI HIGH COURT

1. Petitioner impugns Order in Original dated 19.12.2023 whereby the show cause notice dated 28.04.2021 has been disposed of.

2. Reference may be had to paragraph 21 of the impugned order which records as under:-

21 .Written Submission of the Noticee:

The Noticee did not submit any written reply in response to Demand-cum-Show Cause Notice No.27 /JC/2022-23 dated 28.04.2022 issued by the Joint Commissioner CGST, Delhi East.

3. We may, however, note that personal hearing opportunity was granted to the petitioner repeatedly. However, none appears for the petitioner. The impugned order notes that as neither any reply was received from the noticee nor any one attended the hearing. The matter was proceeded further.

4. Learned counsel appearing for the respondent concedes that a reply was filed by the petitioner, however, appears to have escaped the notice of the Adjudicating Authority when the final order was passed.

5. As noticed hereinabove and as conceded by the respondent that a reply was filed but the same was not taken into account by the Adjudicating Authority while passing the impugned order. The impugned order is accordingly set aside. The show cause notice is restored on the record of the Adjudicating Authority. The Adjudicating Authority shall decide the show cause notice in accordance with law after giving one opportunity of personal hearing to the petitioner.

6. It is clarified that in case petitioner once again fails to appear pursuant to the hearing being granted, the Adjudicating Authority would be at liberty to proceed further with the adjudication of the show cause notice ex parte. However, after taking into consideration the reply filed by the petitioner.

7. The petition is accordingly disposed of in the above terms.

8. It is clarified that this Court has neither considered nor commented on the merits and contentions of either party. All rights and contentions of the parties are reserved.

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