Introduction: The Kerala High Court recently delivered a judgment in the case of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) vs. Commissioner, Central GST and Central Excise. The court’s decision addressed an assessment order issued by the GST Commissioner and its implications for BSNL.
1. Background: BSNL, a prominent government-owned telecommunications company, filed a writ petition challenging an assessment order (referred to as Ext.P1) passed by the Commissioner, Central GST, and Central Excise.
2. Legal Remedy: The court observed that BSNL had the option to seek legal remedy through an appeal under Section 86(1) of the Finance Act, 1994. However, the court’s role was not to delve into the merits of the case but to determine if there were any jurisdictional errors that warranted its interference.
3. Assessment Order: The assessment order in question was characterized as detailed, indicating that the assessing authority had conducted a thorough evaluation. The court, after reviewing the order, concluded that there were no jurisdictional errors that would necessitate intervention through a writ petition.
4. Dismissal of Writ Petition: The Kerala High Court, therefore, decided to dismiss the writ petition. However, it granted BSNL the liberty to pursue its case by approaching the appellate authority or the Tribunal in accordance with the Finance Act, 1994.
5. Future Course of Action: If BSNL decides to file an appeal, the court emphasized that the appellate authority should conduct the appeal proceedings in compliance with the law and ensure a swift resolution.
Conclusion: The Kerala High Court’s judgment in the case of BSNL vs. Commissioner, Central GST and Central Excise reaffirms the principle that writ petitions are not the appropriate forum to challenge assessment orders. Instead, the court encourages aggrieved parties to utilize the legal remedies available to them, such as appeals, to address tax-related disputes. The decision highlights the importance of due process and following the established legal procedures in resolving taxation matters.
FULL TEXT OF THE JUDGMENT/ORDER OF KERALA HIGH COURT
1. The present writ petition has been filed for quashing of Ext.P1 order in original passed by the Commissioner, Central GST and Central Excise.
2. The petitioner has approached this Court against the assessment order for which it has been set free to seek remedy by appeal under Section 86(1) of the Finance Act, 1994. On perusal of the assessment order which is quite detailed, this Court does not find that the assessing authority has committed any jurisdictional error which requires interference by this Court in the writ jurisdiction. Therefore, without entering into the merits of the case, the present writ petition is dismissed with liberty to the petitioner to approach the appellate authority/Tribunal against the assessment order. If the appeal is filed, the appellate authority should proceed hearing of the appeal in accordance with law and dispose the same expeditiously.
3. The present writ petition is hereby dismissed.