The issue under consideration is whether the best judgement assessment can be set aside by filing revised return beyond specified time period?
High Court state that the returns in respect of the period aforementioned were filed beyond the period of one month stipulated under Section 62 of the Act. Therefore, the petitioner cannot aspire for the benefit of getting the assessment orders passed on best judgment basis set aside, as contemplated under Section 62 of the Act. The remedy of the petitioner against the said assessment orders lies in approaching the statutory appellate authority against the said orders. HC, therefore, dismiss the writ petition in its challenge against the assessment orders without prejudice to the right of the petitioner to move the first appellate authority in its challenge against the said assessment orders.
FULL TEXT OF THE HIGH COURT ORDER /JUDGEMENT
The petitioner, a private limited company engaged in providing ayurvedic and spa services, is an assessee under the provisions of the GST Act. In the writ petition, the petitioner is aggrieved by the assessment orders that were passed for the period from April 2018 to October 2019 on best judgment basis under Section 62 of the CGST Act. It is the contention of the petitioner that within the statutorily permitted period of 30 days from the date of receipt of the said assessment orders under Section 62, the petitioner preferred separate returns for the various months as aforementioned and also filed applications for rectification of errors apparent on the face of the assessment orders that was served on him. It is his contention in the writ petition that in view of the returns subsequently filed within the period permitted under Section 62, Ext.P1 series of assessment orders had to be withdrawn as contemplated under the said Section.
2. A statement has been filed on behalf of the 1st respondent pursuant to the directions from this Court, wherein at paragraphs 5 and 7 the respondents have given details of the date of issue of assessment orders in respect of various months constituting the period for which the assessment was completed on best judgment basis. At paragraph No.7 the respondents have also furnished the date on which the returns were filed by the petitioner for the various months covered by the assessment orders in question. A comparative chart based on the details furnished in paragraph Nos.5 and 7 would show the following:
|Return Period||Date of Issue of Assessment Order||Date of Filing of Returns|
3. It is further submitted by the learned Government Pleader by placing reliance on Section 169 of the CGST Act that under the said provision the mode of communication of an order, by making it available on the common portal, is also a recognised method of communication of the order to an assessee as indicated in Section 169(2) of the Act. It is, therefore, her contention that inasmuch as the returns for the various months were filed with the Department more than 30 days after the date of communication of the assessment order through publication on the common portal, the petitioner could not avail the benefit of getting the assessment orders set aside in terms of Section 62 of the CGST Act.
4. I have heard Sri.Harisankar V. Menon, the learned counsel for the petitioner and Dr.Thushara James, the learned Government Pleader for the respondents.
5. On a consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case and the submissions made across the Bar, I find force in the contention of the learned Government Pleader for the respondents that the returns in respect of the period aforementioned were filed beyond the period of one month stipulated under Section 62 of the Act. It would follow, therefore, the petitioner cannot aspire for the benefit of getting the assessment orders passed on best judgment basis set aside, as contemplated under Section 62 of the Act. The remedy of the petitioner against the said assessment orders lies in approaching the statutory appellate authority against the said orders. I, therefore, dismiss the writ petition in its challenge against the assessment orders without prejudice to the right of the petitioner to move the first appellate authority in its challenge against the said assessment orders.
Taking note of the submission of the learned counsel for the petitioner that he would require some time to move the appellate authority, I direct that the recovery steps pursuant to the assessment orders impugned in this writ petition shall be kept in abeyance for a period of one month so as to enable the petitioner to move the appellate authority, in the meanwhile.