In the present case, the NAA held that the petitioner has denied the benefit of tax reduction to the customers in contravention of the provisions of Section 171 (1) of the CGST Act, 2017 and he has thus resorted to profiteering. Hence, he has committed an offence under section 171 (3A) of the CGST Act, 2017 and therefore, he is liable to penal action under the provisions of the above Section.
High Court directed the petitioner to deposit principal profiteered amount but stayed interest and penalty imposed by National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA).
FULL TEXT OF THE HIGH COURT ORDER /JUDGEMENT
CM APPL. 23190/2020
Allowed, subject to all just exceptions.
W.P.(C) 6671/2020 & CM APPL. 23189/2020
The petition has been listed before this Bench by the Registry in view of the urgency expressed therein. The same has been heard by way of video conferencing.
Present writ petition has been filed challenging the final order dated 16th July, 2020 passed by NAPA whereby it has been held that the petitioner profiteered Rs.7,53,854/- (including GST) during the period 15th November, 2017 to 30th June, 2019 as well as the report dated 31st December, 2019 issued by the DGAP/Respondent No. 3.
Petitioner also prays for a declaration that Section 171 of CGST Act and Chapter XV of the CGST Rules are arbitrary, discriminatory, and unconstitutional for being in violation of Articles 14, 19(1)(g), 50, 256 and 300A of the Constitution of India as well as for a declaration that Rule 123, 129 and 133(3) of the CGST Rules are ultra vires the provisions of the CGST Act itself.
Petitioner further prays for a declaration that the aforesaid provisions are inapplicable to the post transition period (i.e. after 01st July, 2017) for being contrary to the very purpose with which these provisions were introduced under the CGST Act and rules thereunder.
Learned counsel for the petitioner states that the total alleged profiteered demand as per the findings of the National Anti Profiteering Authority under the impugned order 16th July, 2020 passed against the petitioner, is Rs.7,53,854/-, which includes Rs.35,898/- the GST imposed on the net profiteered amount-which has already been deposited by the petitioner with the Department. He further prays that due to COVID-19 pandemic, the petitioner be allowed to deposit the aforesaid amount in installments.
Mr. Vivek Goyal, learned counsel, accepts notice on behalf of respondent No.1.
Mr. Ravi Prakash, learned counsel, accepts notice on behalf of respondent Nos. 2 and 3.
Let counter-affidavits be filed within a period of four weeks. Rejoinder-affidavits, if any, be filed before the next date of hearing.
Keeping in view the orders passed by this Court in Phillips India Limited Vs. Union of India & Ors. (W.P.(C) No.3737/2020) as well as M/s Samsonite South Asia Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Union of India & Ors. (W.P.(C) No.4131/2020 and M/s Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. Vs. Union of India & Ors. (W.P.(C) No. 4375/2020), this Court directs the petitioner to deposit the principal profiteered amount (i.e. Rs.7,53,854/- and Rs.35,898/-) in six equated monthly installments commencing 30th September, 2020.
However, the interest amount directed to be paid by the respondents as well as penalty proceedings are stayed till further orders. Learned counsel for the parties are directed to file their short written submissions not exceeding five pages each at least one week prior to the next date of hearing.
List on 03rd November, 2020.
The order be uploaded on the website forthwith. Copy of the order be also forwarded to the learned counsel through e-mail.