M/s SRKM Steel Pvt. Ltd. Vs The State of Assam (Gauhati High Court)

A petition has been filedon the ground of technical glitch in the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) wherein the petitioner, M/s SRKM Steel Pvt. Ltd, was unable to replace Authorised Digital Signature of the Deceased Director with the Digital Signature of the New or Existing Director.

Text of the Petition is as follows:-

1. That the Petitioner namely M/s SRKM Steel Pvt. Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as the petitioner company), is a Private Limited Company incorporated under the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956, having its Registered Office at C/o Khetawat Industries, Lokhra Road, Sawkuchi Post Office, Guwahati- 781034. The Petitioner in the present case is represented by one of its Directors, Sri Saurav Khetawat, who is authorised on behalf of the petitioner company. All the Directors & shareholders of the petitioner company are citizens of India and are as such entitled to all rights and privileges guaranteed by the Constitution of India as amended from time to time.

2. That the Respondent No. 1 is the State of Assam, represented by the Commissioner and Secretary to the Government of Assam, Ministry of Finance (Taxation), the Respondent No. 2 is the Union of India. The Respondent No. 3 is the Commissioner of State Taxes, Guwahati, Assam and the Respondent No. 4 is the Commissioner Central GST, Guwahati, Assam. The Respondent No 5 is the Superintendent of Taxes, Unit-D, the jurisdictional officer of the petitioner.

3. That the petitioner most respectfully begs to state that the petitioner company is engaged in the business of Iron, Steel, builders & real estate developers and was a registered dealer under the Assam Value Added Tax Act, 2003.

4. That in the year 2017, Parliament enacted the following Acts to levy the tax known as the “Goods and Services Tax” :-

(i) Central Goods and Services Tax (“Central GST”) under the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (“Central GST Act”) which is a tax on all intra-State supplies or supplies which originate and are consumed within the same State.

(ii) Integrated Goods and Services Tax (“Integrated GST”) under the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (“Integrated GST Act”) which is a tax on inter-State supplies or supplies which originate and are consumed in two different States as well as on supplies in the course of export or import.

(iii) Compensation Cess under the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Act, 2017 (“Compensation Cess Act”) which is a cess on certain intra-State supplies to provide for compensation to the States who suffer revenue loss while transitioning to the new taxation regime.

(iv) Similarly, the State of Assam has levied the Assam Goods and Service Tax Act, 2017 (“Assam GST”) under the Assam Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (“Assam GST Act”) which is again a tax on intra-State supplies. This tax is levied in addition to the Central GST which is levied and collected by the Union of India. However, no Assam GST can be levied on inter-State supplies or on supplies in the course of import or export which are exclusively within the legislative domain of the Union of India.

(v) The Petitioner was liable to get registered under the Central GST Act, Assam GST Act and the Integrated GST Act by virtue of the provisions of Section 139 read with Section 22(2) of the Central GST Act as well as the Assam GST Act. Under those provisions, every person who was registered under the erstwhile Sales Tax/VAT, Central Excise or Service Tax regime had to compulsorily register under the Central GST Act and the Assam GST Act.

(vi) The liability for registration under all the four Acts is concurrent. One must get registered under all the four Acts at the same time or under none at all. There is no option to register under any particular Act, but avoid the registration requirement of the other Acts.

(vii) In fact a single digital utility for registration on the GST Network governs registration under all the four Acts in a consolidated fashion.

(viii) The registration, returns, tax payment and collection process is completely digitized and is administered through the Goods and Services Tax Network (“GST Network”) which is an online Common Portal on which registration, returns, tax payment and all other compliances have to be undertaken. The GST Network synchronizes all GST-related compliances for all of the more than 30 GST Acts in force throughout India.

The petitioner craves leave to produce copies of the said Acts, if necessary, at the stage of hearing.

5. That the petitioner most respectfully begs to state that after the coming into effect of GST on and from 01.07.2017, the petitioner company Migrated into GST. At the time of migration to GST, the petitioner company had two Directors in the name of Sri Gaurav Khetawat and Smt. Sunita Devi Khetawat. The GST Portal required at least one person as an authorised signatory for doing online activities viz: filing of returns, forms, refund claim, making amendments to registration etc. etc. and therefore Sri Gaurav Khetawat was registered as the authorised signatory on the GST Portal for the aforesaid online activities and other communication with the Department. The email address as well as the Mobile Number was also validated with the GST Portal.

A copy of the GST registration Certificate as well as the e-mails dated 27.07.2017 and 23.08.2017 validating the same are annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURES-I, II & III respectively

6. That the petitioner most respectfully begs to state that the returns in respect of GST to be filed by the registered dealer were as follows:-

i. Filing of Trans- 1, to avail Input Tax Credit of old stock pre-GST. The last date of filing the said Form was extended many times and finally the last date was extended upto 28.12.2017.

ii. Filing of GSTR- 3B per month, containing all details of purchase and sales as well as the tax payable for the month. The same is filed only after payment of due taxes. The last date of filing GSTR- 3B is normally 20th of next month. However, the Last date for filing GSTR- 3B for the month of July, 2017 was 25th August, 2017. Further the Central Govt. has also extended due date for filing GSTR-3B for various months from time to time in view of inconveniences faced by the assessee.

iii.  Filing GSTR- 1 in respect of purchases made during the month to be filed originally between dated 1st to 10th of next month. However, the Central Govt. has also extended the said due date on several occasions and also made provision of filing quarterly return for the assessee having turnover less than 1.50 Crores.

iv. GSTR- 2 will open only after filing GSTR- 1, Filing GSTR- 2 in respect of sales made during the month to be filed between 11th and 15th of the next month. Presently, in view of the technical glitches on the portal or the system problems filing of GSTR-2 has been deferred till further instructions by the Govt.

v. Filing GSTR- 3, (Auto Generated) in respect of tax to be paid, to be filed between 16th to 20th of next month, only after due payment of tax. Presently, in view of the technical glitches on the portal or the system problems filing of GSTR-3 has been deferred till further instructions by the Govt.

vi. On filing of late return, the petitioner presently needs to pay Rs. 50 per day as late fees. Further the said late fee in case of NIL return is reduced to Rs 20 per day. However, the late fees for the months of July, 2017; August, 2017 and September, 2017 have been waived off.

Further under GST, all the returns have to be filed sequentially or consecutively. One cannot skip earlier period returns to file later period returns.

7. That the petitioner most respectfully begs to state that however, most unfortunately the said Director as well as the authorised signatory of the Company, Sri Gaurav Khetawat suddenly expired on 21.08.2017 at Kolkata. On expiry of the said Director, the post of Director lay vacant and needed to be filled up. Therefore the post of Director of the Company was filled up by the brother of Sri Gaurav Khetawat, namely Sri Saurav Khetawat w.e.f. 21.08.2017. Thereafter the information in the said regards was submitted before the Registrar of Companies, Shillong in Form DIR- 12 along with the Board Resolution and the same was duly registered.

After the appointment of the new Director, it became incumbent to make suitable amendment in the GST registration in respect of the change of Directorship of the Company.

A copy of the death certificate of the Director as well as a copy of the DIR- 12 filed before Registrar of Companies are annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURES- IV and V respectively.

8. That the petitioner most respectfully begs to submit that the petitioner tried its best to update the necessary information on the GST Portal for filing returns as the last date for filing GSTR- 3B for the month of July, 2017 was 25.08.2017 (as extended) but even after repeated efforts and requests to the tax dept. the same was not uploaded. Since Mr. Gaurav Khetawat , the deceased Director was the only authorised signatory on the GSTN portal so for doing any activity like filing of return or amending the registration the system was again and again asking to use digital signature of the deceased director only. Further it may be noted that for corporate entities any activity on the portal can be done only by using digital signature. However, the alternative facility of using OTP has been provided to non-corporate entities whereby any activity where signature is necessary can be done by using EVC (Electronic Verification Code) on the registered mobile number. But unfortunately the same is not available to the corporate entities. The petitioner being the Corporate Entity, the details needed to be uploaded to use the digital signature of the new Director for filing returns and the GST Portal was not accepting the Digital Signature of any of the present Director. Further, the digital signature of the deceased Director cannot be used as that would also amount to misuse of digital signature of the deceased. The petitioner also tried to change the password on 25.08.2017, however, the GST Portal even after change of password did not accept the returns submitted by the petitioner company.

A copy of the E-Mail receipt for change of password on 25.08.2017 is annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE- VI.

9. That the petitioner most respectfully begs to submit that the petitioner tried to amend its registration on several occasions. The petitioner also tried to file its returns from July’2017 onwards. However, the GST Portal merely saved the amendment request of the petitioner with an option to file the same within 15 days (by using digital signature) of saving without actually allowing them to amend the registration. Further, the amendment petition was not approved/accepted with the digital signature of the new Director because he was not added as new director on the portal.

Copies of E-mails showing the amendment request as saved by the GST Portal but not allowing to amend the registration for inclusion of new director are annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE- VII series.

10. That the petitioner most respectfully begs to state that the petitioner also tried to make changes in the authorised signatory by giving the name of the Director, Smt. Sunita Devi, as new authorised signatory, but the same was also not accepted as the GST Portal insisted on the digital signature of the deceased Director, Sri Gaurav Khetawat only. As a result the petitioner could not either remove the deceased director nor could implead the new Director in the GST Portal. The petitioner thereafter personally met the officers of the sales tax department in relation to the issue, but they expressed their inability to do anything with the GST Portal. The petitioner also vide letter dated 18.12.2017 to its jurisdictional officer gave the full particulars and details of the problems in filing return faced by the petitioner to the jurisdictional officers of the Sales Tax Department but the officers of the department expressed their inability to do anything in the said matter.

A copy of the letter dated 18.12.2017 is annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE- VIII.

11. That the petitioner most respectfully begs to state that the petitioner having no other option filed a Grievance before the Support GSTN and the Ticket number in the said respect was generated as Ticket No. 20172271896848. However, the said Support GSTN vide reply dated 29.12.2017 closed the grievance as resolved by informing the petitioner that “In case the Primary Authorised Signatory has died or is not traceable, you need to approach the relevant jurisdictional Tax officer to set a New Authorized Signatory in the GST Portal. You can check your jurisdiction in the Registration Certificate. Alternatively, you can check the My Profile section to check your Jurisdiction.

A copy of the mail received from the Helpdesk is annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE- IX.

12. That the petitioner most respectfully begs to state that the petitioner again approached the jurisdictional officer vide letter dated 08.01.2018 along with the reply by the GST Helpdesk and again requested before the said officer to be kind enough to allow the authorised signatory Smt. Sunita Devi Khetawat to use her digital signature for filing the returns as the returns of the petitioner have been accepted by the GSTN Portal because of non-acceptance of the new digital signature. However, the said jurisdictional officer again expressed its inability to interfere with the GSTN Portal. The petitioner was completely aggrieved in as much as on one hand there was bereavement in the family of the Directors of the petitioner and on the other hand the petitioner is neither able to file its returns and pay tax so that the buyers can take credit of the same and the petitioner can also take Input Credits of the purchases made by it, nor the petitioner able to take the credit of its transitional stock by filing TRANS- 1 and thereby heavy losses were caused not only to the petitioner company and its buyers but also to the State as well as Central Government in the form of not getting the revenue.

A copy of the letter dated 08.01.2018 filed before the jurisdictional officer is annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE- X.

13. That the petitioner most respectfully begs to state that on constant demand from Trade & Industry including petitioner the Govt. started /opened the EVC facility available to non-corporate Entities to corporate entities as well w.e.f. 21.02.2018 only. It is made optional for corporate entities to do any activity on the portal by using EVC in the form of OTP on their registered mobile number. The petitioner using the said facility immediately filed its monthly tax returns in Form GSTR-3B from July’2017 to Jan’2018 on 03.03.2018.The petitioner also paid late fee to the tune of Rs 13,000.00 while filing such returns because without payment of late fee the portal has not allowed to file GST returns. The petitioner also tried to amend its registration certificate and to file GSTR-1 by using the EVC facility but unfortunately the portal has not yet made available EVC facility in respect of any other activities except filing GSTR-3B. So the concern of the petitioner to file GSTR-1 and to amend the registration certificate by deleting deceased director and by adding new director in place thereof still continues. Further , the petitioner was unable to file forms in respect of any of the prior periods as the GSTN Portal have automatically closed down the Trans- 1 returns and the same cannot be opened now as the GSTN Portal have automatically closed down the same, thereby causing heavy loss and injury to the petitioner for no fault on its part.

A copy of the tax payment challan dated: 03.03.2018 along with copies of GSTR-3B filed from July’2017 to Jan’2018 as downloaded from GST portal are annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE- XI & XII respectively.

14. That being highly aggrieved the petitioner have filed the instant Writ Petition invoking the provisions of Article 226 of the Constitution of India for appropriate relief.

15. For that this Hon’ble Court in exercise of its power conferred under Article 226 of the Constitution of India can always interfere or intervene when it is found that the grave injustice have been caused to the petitioner for no fault on its part.

16. That the petitioner most respectfully begs to submit that the Petitioner has been granted a “Registration Number” under the Goods and Service Tax Act, 2017 after duly completing all the requisite formalities. However, Petitioner has not been able to change the digital signature of the deceased Director with the new and/or the old Director on the Goods and Services Tax Network. This is not due to any fault or negligence on behalf of Petitioner. Petitioner has been continuously calling upon the Respondents and their officers to get this issue resolved for the past six months, but to no avail. No replacement in digital signature of deceased with new and/or old Director also means that the Petitioner is unable to file returns or pay tax or undertake any of the compliances required under the statute. Such non-acceptance of returns which have made the returns lapse by time also exposes the petitioner to huge interest , penalty & late fee demands for no fault of the Petitioner. Similarly, Petitioner as well as its customers is unable to verify the Input Tax Credit available as filing of GSTR-1 is not being allowed without using digital signature. The present case is thereby a fit case for Issue of appropriate writ, direction or order to the Respondents to grant all the benefits under the law which were lost due to the failure on the part of the GSTN Network in accepting the change in Digital signature for filing returns as well as immunity from the interest and penalty & late fee burden occasioned by the failure of Government machinery for payment of tax and filing of returns on time.

17. That the petitioner most respectfully begs to submit that the entire process of payment of tax, filing of returns, availing of input tax credit and undertaking of all compliances required under the four GST Acts is completely digitized and completely depended on the online profile on the GST Network. Lack of full operationalization of the online profile thus totally handicaps a taxpayer who is willing to honestly pay the tax and fulfils all its statutory obligations. Continuous representations and follow-ups with the statutory authorities have not yielded any benefit. Petitioner is being punished for no fault of its own. While the process of digitization is welcomed, statutory benefits and obligations mandated by the Legislature cannot be allowed to lapse because the digital system erected by the Executive branch is unable to work properly. Neither the rule of law, nor the constitutional promise of proper execution and administration of laws can be surrendered to the vagaries of a digital network. Under such circumstances only a Court in exercise of its Writ Power under Article 226 ought to interfere in as much as such failure of the GSTN Portal not only resulted in huge loss to the petitioner and its dealers, but also to the Government as well.

18. That the petitioner most respectfully begs to submit that the Respondents are obligated under the statute to fully operationalize the Petitioner’s online profile on GST Network. Respondents must be directed to grant all facilities and benefits which have been unavailable to the Petitioner due to failure of GSTN Portal to accept changes in Digital Signature cause of expiry of the Director whose Digital Signature was registered under the GSTN Portal, including the benefit of the input tax credit provisions. Petitioner should also be allowed to file all returns, forms and applications whose deadline has gone by like Trans -1 as well as monthly returns in GSTR-1 with respect from July, 2017 till February, 2018 or till date of passing of the Order in the present case or accepting the Digital Signature whichever is later.

19. That the petitioner most respectfully begs to submit that the interest, penalty & late fee liability due to non-filing of returns on time, non-payment of tax on time and other such lapses in compliance with the statute, which have arisen due to the lack of change of digital signature by the online profile on the GST Network, should not be foisted on Petitioner. These lapses are a result of failure of Government machinery and Petitioner should not be penalized for the same. Further the amount of late fee which has been already paid by the petitioner to the tune of Rs 13,000.00 should be refunded immediately as the same is wothout any fault on the part of the petitioner. Petitioner therefore prays that the Hon’ble Court direct that no interest and penalty liability and or late fees be imposed on the Petitioner for such lapses which were occasioned by non-acceptance of returns for change in digital signature.

20. That the petitioner most respectfully begs to submit that even though Petitioner has collected the tax from customers and is ready to pay the entire tax on all supplies which have taken place since 1.07.2017 (when the four Acts came into force), the failure on the part of GSTN Portal to allow the petitioner to file return without change in Digital Signature and further non-accepting the change in digital signature on account of expiry of a Director have has prevented the Petitioner from filing returns and paying the said tax into the Government Treasury. The purchasers and customers of the Petitioner are therefore unable to verify the Input Tax Credit relating to the tax paid by them to the Petitioner. Lack of confirmation of Input Tax Credit benefit to customers will gravely prejudice Petitioner’s customers and drive them away, thus putting Petitioner at the risk of a huge loss of business. Since these problems arise out of improper working of State machinery, Petitioner’s as well as its customers’ rights under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India must be protected by this Hon’ble Court.

21. That the petitioner most respectfully begs to submit that non-passing of input tax credit benefits electronically by Petitioner to its customers also amounts to an infringement of Section 171 of the Central GST Act and the Assam GST Act which have been enacted to protect consumers against anti-profiteering. Thus, Petitioner is exposed to penalties under the anti-profiteering provisions in Section 171 for no fault of its own.

22. That the petitioner most respectfully begs to submit that the E-way bill is scheduled to come into effect shortly. As per Rule 138 of the Central GST Rules, 2017 and the Assam GST Rules, 2017, movement of goods cannot commence without the E- way Bill which is generated from the online profile on the GST Network. Any attempt to transport or move goods without an E- way Bill is unlawful and will render the goods and the conveyance in which these goods are carried liable to confiscation and the owner of goods and the transporter liable for penalty. Section 129 of the Central GST Act, 2017 provides for detention, seizure and release of goods and conveyances in transit if they are supplied in contravention of the Act or the Rules. Similarly, under Section 130 of the Central GST Act, 2017, the goods of Petitioner as well as the conveyance belonging to its transporters are liable for confiscation if the said goods are transported in contravention of the Act and the Rules. Thus, drastic consequences flow from the lack of E-Way Bill. No transporter will touch the Petitioner’s goods till the E-Way Bill is generated by Petitioner. The Petitioner apprehends that it shall not be able to generate the E-Way Bill due to no fault of its own because of non-acceptance of digital signature. This Hon’ble Court must therefore protect the Petitioner as well as the transporters from any adverse consequences flowing from the non- acceptance of digital signature by the GSTN Portal.

23. That the petitioner most respectfully also submits that the provision of section 29 read with rule 15 of the CGST Act and Assam GST Act has made a provision whereby any registered person who has not furnished return for continues period of six months , the registration certificate of such person is liable for cancellation. In the instant case the petitioner though filed monthly tax return in GSTR-3B till Jan’2018 on 03.03.2018 but the return of outward supply /sales in Form GSTR-1 is not yet been filed only due to the problem of the digital signature. As a result the petitioner apprehends that the GST portal or the GST authorities might cancel its registration certificate automatically whereby causing irreparable loss and injury to the petitioner. So the petitioner humbly prays to this Court to protect its fundamental rights as non-filing of GST returns was never due to the fault of the petitioner.

24. That the petitioner most respectfully begs to submit that the Petitioner itself has lost out on the Input Tax Credit benefits under the transitional and other provisions where the date for submitting the documents or filing forms or undertaking any other compliance required for such Input Tax Credit benefit has gone by. Petitioner therefore prays that suitable directions be given to the Respondents to immediately assess and allow the Input Tax Credit benefits to the Petitioner. Respondents should also be directed to not deny any Input Tax credit benefit to customers of Respondents due to non-filing of returns, non-payment of tax or non-fulfilment of any statutory requirement by Petitioner within the time statutorily prescribed for no fault on the part of the petitioner.

25. That the petitioner most respectfully begs to submit that the actions of the Respondent Authority is arbitrary, unreasonable and in violation of the fundamental rights of the Petitioner under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Petitioner as well as the provisions of Article 265 of the Constitution of India.

26. For that in any view of the matter the actions of respondent authority are violative of principles of natural justice, illegal and liable to be interfered with.

27. For that the petitioner craves leave to take up further and/or other grounds at the time of hearing.

28. That the petitioner most respectfully begs to state that since the actions of the respondent Authorities and the non­working of the GSTN Portal is completely illegal and violative of principles of natural justice and administrative fairplay, arbitrary and perverse, the petitioner in the interim prays that no action shall be taken against the petitioner, till the disposal of the instant Writ petition for ends of justice, unless otherwise the petitioner shall suffer irreparable loss and shall be put to grave hardships and inconvenience.

29. That from what has been stated hereinabove, it would be apparent that the Petitioner has a strong and fit case and balance of convenience is in favour of the Petitioner for grant of interim arrangement as prayed for.

30. That the Petitioner has established a strong prima facie case. The Petitioner submits that the balance of convenience is in its favour and against the Respondents. The Petitioner further submits that if this Hon’ble Court does not intervene in this matter and grant the reliefs prayed for it will cause the Petitioner severe prejudice, grave hardship and irretrievable and irreparable damage and injury.

31. That the petitioner have no other alternative remedy and remedy sought for will give the speedy and efficacious remedy to the general cause which is raised in this application.

32. That the petitioners have not preferred any other application on the self same fact and cause of action before any other Forum or High Court or Supreme Court of India.

33. That since there is urgency in the present matter, the instant writ application has been filed with due care but in limited time as such liberty to place additional facts by way filing additional affidavit in the present proceedings as and when necessary may kindly be granted.

34. That this application made bonafide and for the ends of Justice.

Under these circumstances hereinabove stated your petitioner most humbly and respectfully prays that Your Lordships may graciously be pleased to pass the following

a) that the Hon’ble Court may be pleased to issue a writ of mandamus and/or and other appropriate writ, order or direction to the Respondents to fully operationalize the online facilities of the Petitioner on the Goods and Services Tax Network by accepting the change of Digital Signature of the present Authorised Director within a time limit set by this Court;

b) that the Hon’ble Court may be pleased to issue a writ of mandamus and/or any other appropriate writ, order or direction to the Respondents to allow the filing of returns ( GSTR-1 & other subsequent returns) from July, 2017 to February, 2018 as well as Trans- 1, forms and applications, payment of tax as well as availing of all benefits and fulfilment of all obligations under the Assam Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017, Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017, the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 and the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Act, 2017 after the full operationalization of the online profile on the GST Network, even if the deadline for such availing such benefits, fulfilling such obligations, filing of returns and forms, payment of tax etc. has passed;

c) that the Hon’ble Court may be pleased to issue a writ of mandamus and/or and other appropriate Writ, Direction or Order to the Respondents to allow all consequential benefits to the customers of Petitioner and direct that the customers of Petitioner not be adversely affected due to the lapses of compliance by Petitioner or its customers of any of their statutory obligations, where such lapses of compliance arise from the non-acceptance of returns due to change in digital signature to the Petitioner;

d) that the Hon’ble Court may be pleased to issue a writ of mandamus and/or and other appropriate Writ, Direction or Order to the Respondents to not to cancel the registration of the petitioner under the GST law merely for non-fling of return which was beyond the control of the petitioner.

e) that the Hon’ble Court may be pleased to issue a Writ of Mandamus and/or any other appropriate Writ, Direction or Order to the Respondents to immediately allow the petitioner to change its digital signature and file returns and grant all statutory benefits, including benefits relating to Input Tax Credit, which are lost due to non-acceptance of returns by the GSTN Portal and to finalise the tax liability of Petitioner for the period upto the date of judgment in this Petition;

f) that the Hon’ble Court may be pleased to issue a writ of mandamus and/or any other appropriate writ, direction or order to the Respondents to assess the Petitioner on a monthly basis and grant all statutory benefits, including benefits relating to Input Tax Credit in such monthly assessments, which benefits are otherwise now not available due to the non-acceptance of the returns by the GSTN Network and to finalise the tax liability of Petitioner in assessments carried out each month, for the period from the date of judgment in this Petition to the date of acceptance of digital signature of the Petitioner;

g) that the Hon’ble Court may be pleased to issue a Writ of Mandamus and/or any other appropriate Writ, Direction of Order to the Respondents to restrain them from levying any interest or penalty and/or late fees on the Petitioner as well as its customers or visiting the Petitioner or its customers with any adverse consequence which arise due to the lapses in compliance with the statutory obligations or requirements on Petitioner’s part or customers’ part where such lapses arise from non-acceptance of returns by GSTN Portal till the time the digital signature of the petitioner is allowed to be amended;

h) that the Hon’ble Court may be pleased to issue a Writ of Mandamus and/or any other appropriate Writ, Direction of Order to the Respondents to refund the late fees paid on account of late filing of returns on account of non­acceptance of returns by GSTN portal on account of non-amendment of digital signature to be replaced from deceased director to the existing Director by the GSTN Portal.

i) An ad – interim order in respect of (a) and (h) above.

j) Rule NISI in terms of prayers made in (a) to (i) above.

k) Pass such other or further order ororders and/or direction or directions as to Your Lordship may deem fit and proper.

And for this Act of kindness your petitioners as in duty, bound shall ever pray.

THE GAUHATI HIGH COURT

(HIGH COURT OF ASSAM, NAGALAND, MIZORAM AND ARUNACHAL PRADESH)

Case No. : WP(C) 1834/2018

1: M/S SRKM STEEL PVT. LTD.
A PVT. LTD. CO. INCORPORATED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE COMPANIES ACT, 1956 AND HAVING ITS REGD. OFFICE AT C/O. KHETAWAT INDUSTRIES, LOKHRA ROAD, SAWKUCHI POST OFFICE, GUWAHATI, KAMRUP (M), ASSAM

VERSUS

1: THE STATE OF ASSAM AND 4 ORS.
REP. BY THE COMM. AND SECY. TO THE GOVT. OF ASSAM, MINISTRY OF
FINANCE (TAXATION) DEPTT., BLOCK-F, DISPUR, GHY., ASSAM

2: UNION OF INDIA
REP. BY THE COMM. AND SECY. TO THE GOVT. OF INDIA MINISTRY OF FINANCE (TAXATION) NORTH BLOCK NEW DELHI.

3: COMMISSIONER OF STATE TAXES
GUWAHATI
ASSAM

4: COMMISSIONER CENTRAL GOODS AND SERVICE TAX
BHANGAGARH
GUWAHATI
ASSAM

5: SUPERINTENDENT OF STATE TAXES
UNIT-D
GUWAHATI
ASSA

Advocate for the Petitioner : MS. M L GOPE

Advocate for the Respondent : SC, FINANCE DEPTT.

BEFORE

HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE ACHINTYA MALLA BUJOR BARUA

O R D E R

06.04.2018

Mr. D. Saikia, learned Senior Additional Advocate General appearing for the respondent Taxation Department submits that a system is in place by which a substituted Director can also be included for the purpose of authorized signatory in the event the earlier authorized signatory is dead. It is stated that the said system is as per Rule-19 of the Assam GST Rules, 2017.

Mr. B. Choudhury, learned counsel assisting Mr. D. Saikia shall inform the learned counsel for the petitioner about the system in place and accordingly, the petitioner may avail the opportunity to do the needful.

List the matter again on 09.05.2018.

JUDGE

Comparing Assistant

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