Case Law Details

Case Name : Balaji Steel Rolling Mills Ltd. Vs State of Tripura (Tripura High Court)
Appeal Number : WP (C) No. 179 of 2020
Date of Judgement/Order : 03/09/2020
Related Assessment Year :

Balaji Steel Rolling Mills Ltd. Vs State of Tripura (Tripura High Court)

Petitioner has challenged the seizure/detention of goods/materials by the Superintendent of State Taxes  by the order dated 17.02.2020 on the ground that e-Way bills tendered for the goods in movement stood expired when the vehicle entered within the territory of the State of Tripura and were intercepted in the Churaibari Check Post.

HC direct the respondents to release the detained materials, on deposit of 25% of the disputed tax and penalty, by the petitioner, as demanded under Annexure-9 collectively and also on securing the total demand by a bond whereby the petitioner shall pledge for payment of for the rest of the demand subject to the outcome of the appeal.

On deposit of 25% of the tax and penalty as aforementioned, and the bond the authority which detained those goods/materials shall release them within three days from the deposit of the said amount and the bond, as indicated above.

So far the question of limitation is concerned we are of the considered view that if the appeal is filed within 15 days from today, the period of limitation shall stand extended till the expiry of that period of 15 days.

FULL TEXT OF THE HIGH COURT ORDER /JUDGEMENT

Heard Mr. Somik Deb, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner as well as Mr. AK Bhowmik, learned Advocate General assisted by Mr. K De, learned Addl. GA appearing for the respondents.

By means of this petition, the petitioner has challenged the seizure/detention of goods/materials by the Superintendent of State Taxes (the proper officer), Churaibari Enforcement Wing, North Tripura by the order dated 17.02.2020 on the ground that e-Way bills tendered for the goods in movement stood expired when the vehicle entered within the territory of the State of Tripura and were intercepted in the Churaibari Check Post. Those, e-way bills are available in Annexure-6 to this petition.

Thereafter, notice under Section 129(3) of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 and the State Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 and also under Section 20 of the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 was issued to the petitioner giving the description of the goods and the tax and penalty imposed for such illegal transportation in violation of the provisions of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 and the State Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 and also under the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.

The petitioner was also directed to appear before the Superintendent of State Sales Tax, Churaibari Enforcement Wing for hearing of the matter and also for considering the reply that would be filed by him. Similar notice was also issued for all the consignments as are available in the writ petition.

Mr. Deb, learned counsel has submitted that e-Way bills had expired during the transit and the petitioner was not in a position to ask for its renewal to the competent authority when the vehicle entered into the territory of the State of Tripura.

In such circumstances, Mr. Deb has submitted that in furtherance of the notice, the final order of demand of tax and penalty was issued upon the petitioner vide order No. 69 dated 25.02.2020,and Order No. 70 dated 25.02.2020 which are in Annexure-9 to this petition. Mr. Deb, learned counsel has urged for immediate release of the vehicles and goods/materials and for interfering with those orders of detention/seizure and imposition of tax and penalty on the petitioner, as stated above, and also to quash the orders of demand of tax and penalty.

Mr. AK Bhowmik, learned Advocate General appearing for the State has submitted that these orders are clearly appealable and, as such, this Court should not maintain this writ petition, inasmuch as, it will affect the procedural propriety and would not be in the interest of revenue.

At this juncture, Mr. Deb, learned counsel for the petitioner has pressed in service the order dated 25.02.2020 delivered in WP(C) 61 of 2020 styled as Chandimata Iron Vs. State of Tripura and Others, where, in similar situation, this court passed the said order, relevant part of which reads as under:

“Since the order under challenge in this petition is appealable, we permit the petitioner to pursue such appeal for which, we are informed limitation period has yet not expired. However, considering the facts of the case, the goods of the petitioner which are in the nature of TMT Bars, shall be released provisionally on the petitioner depositing 25% of the disputed tax and penalty demand and furnishing a bond for securing the rest of the amount.

Similarly, if the transporter also approached the competent authority for provisional release of the vehicle and offers bond for the full value of the tax and penalty such vehicle shall be released in favour of the transporter.”

Mr. Deb, learned counsel has further urged that a similar order may be passed in this case but he has pointed out that in the present case, the period of limitation has already expired and, as such, the petitioner may find some difficulty in filing the appeal, if the analogy of Chandimata Iron (supra) is accepted by this court.

Learned Advocate General has generously agreed and submitted that the court may pass the similar order directing the petitioner to deposit 25% of the tax and penalty along with the bond pledging payment and securing the rest of the demand, subject to the outcome of the appeal.

Having situated thus, we direct the respondents to release the detained materials, on deposit of 25% of the disputed tax and penalty, by the petitioner, as demanded under Annexure-9 collectively and also on securing the total demand by a bond whereby the petitioner shall pledge for payment of for the rest of the demand subject to the outcome of the appeal.

On deposit of 25% of the tax and penalty as aforementioned, and the bond the authority which detained those goods/materials shall release them within three days from the deposit of the said amount and the bond, as indicated above.

So far the question of limitation is concerned we are of the considered view that if the appeal is filed within 15 days from today, the period of limitation shall stand extended till the expiry of that period of 15 days.

In view of the above, this petition stands disposed of.

A copy of this order be furnished to the learned counsel for the parties for their doing the needful.

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