Introduction: In an influential judgment, the Calcutta High Court has overturned a penalty imposed under Section 107 of the WBGST Act, 2017 for the expiry of an E-way bill that was less than a day. The petitioner, Ashok Mishra, contended that the delay was neither willful nor deliberate but occurred due to reasons beyond his control.
Analysis: In this case, the petitioner relied on an earlier unreported decision of the Court to support his argument. The advocate representing the Government contended that the previous decision was not applicable under the facts and circumstances of the current case. However, the Court, after careful consideration of the case’s unique circumstances and party submissions, recognized that the E-way bill’s expiry period was less than a day. Moreover, it accepted that the delay was neither deliberate nor willful, but rather due to factors beyond the petitioner’s control. As such, the Court chose to set aside the impugned order dated 24th December 2022, thereby disposing of the petition and eliminating the imposed penalty.
Conclusion: This judgment by the Calcutta High Court in the case of Ashok Mishra Vs State of West Bengal & Ors serves as an important precedent, emphasizing that minor delays in the expiry of E-way bills, especially those occurring due to uncontrollable circumstances, are excusable. The ruling brings a significant relief to entities operating under the purview of the WBGST Act, 2017, establishing that penalties should not be imposed arbitrarily but should take into account the context and reason behind such delays.
FULL TEXT OF THE JUDGMENT/ORDER OF CALCUTTA HIGH COURT
Heard learned advocates appearing for the parties.
By this writ petition petitioner has challenged the impugned appellate order dated 24th December, 2022 passed under Section 107 of the WBGST Act, 2017 imposing penalty for expiry of e-way bill which is lesser than a day.
It is the case of the petitioner that such delay was neither willful nor deliberate on the part of the petitioner and the same was occurred due the reason beyond the control of the petitioner.
In support of its contention learned advocate appearing for the petitioner has relied on an unreported decision of this Court dated 1st March, 2022 passed in the case of Ashok Kumar Sureka – vs – Assistant Commissioner, State Tax, Durgapur Range, Government of West Bengal (WPA 11085 of 2021).
Mr. Siddiqui, learned Additional Government Pleader submits that the aforesaid unreported decision relied upon by the petitioner is not applicable in the facts and circumstances of this case.
Considering the exceptional facts and circumstances of this case and submission of the parties and taking into consideration the fact that the period of expiry of e-way bill is lesser than a day and that such delay was not deliberate and willful and the delay has been caused for the reason beyond control of the petitioner, this writ petition being WPA 14631 of 2023 is disposed of by setting aside the impugned order dated 24th December, 2022.
In view of setting aside of the aforesaid impugned order all legal consequence will follow automatically.