Introduction: In a recent judgment, the Madras High Court, in the case of Rathinavel Pandian vs Assistant Commissioner (ST), addressed the petitioner’s plea against the order confirming the demand for recovery of Input Tax Credit (ITC) under SGST and CGST. The court not only granted the petitioner the liberty to file a statutory appeal within four weeks but also made an interim arrangement to address the freezing of the petitioner’s bank account.
Background: The writ petition was filed challenging the order dated 08.05.2023, wherein the first respondent confirmed the demand for the recovery of ITC, imposing penalties and interest under Section 73 of the Tamil Nadu Goods and Services Tax (TNGST) Act.
Disposition of Writ Petition: The court disposed of the writ petition, granting the petitioner the liberty to file a statutory appeal before the Deputy Commissioner, Tirunelveli, within a period of four weeks. The Deputy Commissioner was directed to entertain the appeal and pass orders on its merits.
Interim Relief for Frozen Bank Account: Acknowledging the petitioner’s claim that their bank account had been frozen, the court left the decision on the freezing of the bank account to the Deputy Commissioner. As an interim arrangement to facilitate the filing of the appeal, the court directed the Deputy Commissioner to allow the petitioner to withdraw 10% of the amount required for filing the appeal from the frozen bank account within a period of four weeks.
Conclusion: The Madras High Court’s decision in Rathinavel Pandian vs Assistant Commissioner showcases a balanced approach to the petitioner’s concerns. Not only did the court grant the petitioner the opportunity to appeal the order, but it also recognized the practical challenge posed by the frozen bank account. The interim relief allowing the withdrawal of 10% of the required amount demonstrates the court’s consideration for ensuring access to justice while the broader issues are addressed through the statutory appeal process. This case underscores the court’s commitment to fairness and practical solutions in the realm of tax disputes.
FULL TEXT OF THE JUDGMENT/ORDER OF MADRAS HIGH COURT
This writ petition is filed as against the order dated 08.05.2023 passed by the first respondent, confirming the demand for recovery of ITC to the extent of Rs.1,58,258/- towards SGST and Rs.1,58,258/- toward CGST along with interest of Rs.87,833/- on each of the tax demanded apart from imposing the penalty of Rs.15,826/- each against the demand for SGST and CST respectively by invoking Section 73 of the TNGST Act.
2. As against the impugned order dated 05.2023 passed by the first respondent, the petitioner is having a statutory appeal remedy before the Deputy Commissioner, Tirunelveli.
3. Therefore, this writ petition is disposed of with liberty to the petitioner to file statutory appeal before the Deputy Commissioner, Tirunelveli, within a period of four weeks. In the event of filing the appeal within a period of four weeks, the Deputy Commissioner, Tirunelveli, shall entertain the appeal and pass orders on its merits.
4. At this juncture, the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner submits that the petitioner’s Bank Account has been frozen.
5. The issue with regard to the freezing of petitioner’s bank account shall be decided by the Deputy Commissioner. As an interim arrangement enabling the petitioner to file the appeal, the Deputy Commissioner, Tirunelveli, shall permit the petitioner to take 10% of the amount required for filing the appeal from his Bank Account within a period of four weeks. No costs. Consequently, connected miscellaneous petitions are closed.