M/s. APL Apollo Tubes Limited has filed a writ petition before the Bombay High Court as it is alleged by petitioner that despite the Petitioner having filed the TRAN-1 form on 24.11.2017 and the status after filing being “FILED” on GSTN Portal, the status of the form online was tampered on the GST portal from “FILED” to “SUBMITTED” at the end of GSTN which is an unauthorized, illegal, malafide and criminal act by a Private Limited Company GSTN which is online custodian of GST returns/records of the Union of India and State of Maharashtra having jurisdiction over the Petitioner in matter of assessment of GST.
Text of the writ filed is as follows:-
MOST RESPECTFULLY SHEWETH:
1. The Petitioner M/s. APL Apollo Tubes Limited is a public limited company having its registered office at 37, Hargoind Enclave, Vikas Marg, Delhi – 1100092 and having its industrial unit at M-1, Additional MIDC Kudavali, Murbad, Thane, Maharashtra – 421401. The Respondent no. 1 & 2 are Union of India, State of Maharashtra having jurisdiction over the Petitioner in matter of assessment of GST. Respondent No.3 GSTN (Goods and Service Network) is a Private Limited Company which has been assigned the job of running Common Goods and Services Tax Electronic Portal for facilitating registration, payment of tax, furnishing of returns etc. under Section 146 of CGST Act,2017/Maharashtra GST Act, 2017 by Respondent No.1 & 2 . The present Writ Petition is arising out of the illegal, unauthorized, malafide and criminal act of tampering of status of Petitioner’s GST TRAN-1 Form online by Respondent No.3 and illegal blocking of Online GSTR 3B Return Filing for the month of for July 2017 onwards by Respondent No.3 and non-resolution of grievance of the Petitioner by the Respondents. Hence Petitioner’s legal right to file GST Returns and to pay and offset GST Liability has been denied by the Respondents and Petitioner is incurring GST liability, interest and late fees under CGST Act, 2017 & SGST Act, 2017 due to the acts of omission and commission by the Respondents.
2. STATEMENT OF FACTS:-
2.1 That, the Petitioner was formerly known as Lloyds Line Pipes Ltd. which has been merged with the Petitioner. The Petitioner is a leading manufacturer and supplier of pipes. The Petitioner has its registered office at 37, Hargoind Enclave, Vikas Marg, Delhi – 1100092 and having its industrial unit at M-1, Additional MIDC Kudavali, Murbad, Thane, Maharashtra – 421401 and is registered with GST with GSTIN 27AABCL5334L1ZC in State of Maharashtra.
2.2 That the Petitioner carried forward an amount of Rs 16,94,21,660/- as CENVAT Credit in Central Excise Return for the period ending 30.06.2017 for Central Excise Registration No. AABCL5334LXM001 and hence entitled to take the said amount in electronic credit ledger on Goods and Services Tax Network (hereinafter referred to as “GSTN”) Portal. In addition Petitioner is also entitled to credit on transitional stock.
2.3 It is submitted that in order to avail transition credit from the previous regime to the GST regime, the Petitioner submitted the TRAN-1 form i.e. the form for claiming transitional credit on 28.8.2017.
2.4 That due to Processing Error at GSTN Portal only part figure of Rs. 4,96,25,703.22/- (Rs.4,94,85,876/- as Central Tax and Rs.1,39,827.22 as State Tax) was credited to the Petitioner’s Provisional electronic credit ledger as transitional credit on 28.08.2017. The copy of screenshot showing Processing Error at GSTN Portal is enclosed as EXHIBIT —–
2.5 The Petitioner made several calls to GSTN Helpline and also met GST Officers and also sent emails to GST Helpdesk.
2.6 The Petitioner was unable to file GSTR3B monthly return for the period July 2017 onwards and unable to set off/pay GST for the period August 2017 onwards till date.
2.7 On 18.11.2017 the Petitioner was in a position to re-submit TRAN-1 Form on GSTN Portal and re-submitted and Filed TRAN-1. CGST credit of Rs. 20,83,35,848/- was credited to the electronic credit ledger of the Petitioner with regard to transitional credit. Further, the balance figure of Rs. 20,83,35,848/- was credited to the Petitioner’s Provisional electronic credit ledger as transitional credit after an inordinate delay on 18.11.2017. The copy of the electronic credit ledger is enclosed herewith as EXHIBIT ——
2.8 The Petitioner received an acknowledgment from the GST Department regarding the filing of the TRAN-1 form as under:
Sent: 24 November 2017 15:28
Subject: Intimation of ARN generated on
submission of Transition Form
Dear Applicant/ Taxpayer,
You have successfully filed the Transition form on 122017 & Time stamp is 24/11/2017 15:28.
Your ARN is AA271217001302V .
Login into your account for any further details.
Department of Sales Tax
Government of Maharashtra
The copy of the email dated 24.11.2017 is enclosed herewith as EXHIBIT—— .
2.9 The TRAN-1 Form of the Petitioner was also verified by Mrs Jayanthi Ganapati Superintendent, Central Tax, Range-1, Division-II, Thane Rural Commissionerate of CGST on 23.1.2018 and no discrepancy was found in the claim.
2.10 That, the Petitioner attempted to file the monthly GSTR-3B return over hundred times since August 2017 on the GST portal however the portal did not allow the Petitioner to file the return. The GST portal incorrectly stated that the GSTR-3B return cannot be filed by the Petitioner as the TRAN-1 form has not been filed. The screenshot of the error message preventing the Petitioner from filing the GSTR-3B return has been enclosed herewith as EXHIBIT
2.11 The status of the Petitioner’s TRAN-1 form which was earlier showing as “FILED” was tampered by GSTN as “SUBMITTED” which means submitted but not filed. This is despite the Petitioner having already filed the TRAN-1 form and receiving an acknowledgment of the filing of TRAN-1 form from the GST Department. The screen shot showing status as filed is also attached as EXHIBIT
2.12 The Petitioner visited GST Officer several times and met several Officers and vide various e-mails and letters communicated to inter alia the GST help desk that the Petitioner is unable to proceed with filing the GSTR-3B as a result of technical glitches. Copies of the Petitioner’s emails dated 30.11.2017, 09.12.2017, 16.12.2017, 10.01.2018 and letter to the Commissioner CGST dated 16.01.2018 have been enclosed herewith as EXHIBIT
2.13 The Petitioner received a perfunctory response from the GST help desk merely stating that the issue was still being worked upon. The copies of the emails received from the GST help desk dated 02.12.2017, 09.12.2017, 16.12.2017, 10.01.2018, 11.01.2018 and 15.01.2018 have been enclosed herewith as “EXHIBIT”—— respectively.
4. GROUNDS: –
a. That, the Petitioner is legally entitled to the transitional credit in terms of inter alia Section 140 of the CGST Act, 2017.
b. That, owing to System Error/Processing Error and the malfunctioning and glitches of the GSTN software, only part transitional credit of only Rs. 4,96,25,703.22/- was credited by the system in Electronic Credit Ledger of the Petitioner on the GST Portal on 28.08.2017.
c. That, the balance transitional credit of Rs. 20,83,35,848/- was credited to the Electronic Credit Ledger of the Petitioner only on 18.11.2017.
d. That, the Petitioner re-submitted and filed with DSC the TRAN-1 form on 24.11.2017 and the acknowledgment of successful filing of TRAN-1 was received vide the GSTN’s email to the Petitioner dated 24.11.2017, a copy whereof has been enclosed as EXHIBIT —-.
e. That, despite the Petitioner having filed the TRAN-1 form on 24.11.2017 and the status after filing being “FILED” on GSTN Portal, the status of the form online was tampered on the GST portal from “FILED” to “SUBMITTED” at the end of GSTN which is an unauthorized, illegal, malafide and criminal act by a Private Limited Company GSTN which is online custodian of GST returns/records of the Respondent No.1 & 2.
f. That, due to tampering of status of TRAN-1 from “FILED” to “SUBMITTED” (but not filed) , the Petitioner is unable to file the GSRT-3B returns for the month of July 2017 onwards.
g. That, the Petitioner has sent numerous communications vide e-mails and letters to the Respondents however the issue has still not been resolved.
h. That, while the Petitioner has already filed the TRAN-1 form and received the acknowledgment of filing from the Department of Sales Tax, Maharashtra, the Petitioner is even as on date unable to file the GSTR-3B returns for no fault of the Petitioner’s.
i. That the Respondents have not taken any efforts to conduct an enquiry in tampering of status by GSTN which is a serious criminal offence and conspiracy by a Private Limited Company(GSTN); its employees and its Vendors who have access to its Portal/software with ulterior motive and malafide to block use of transitional credit to the Petitioner and is a clear case of blackmail and harassment.
j. That the custody of GST Returns and Records of Petitioner and Respondent No.1 & 2 are not safe and secured in hands of GSTN which is a Private Limited Company.
k. That the incident of tampering of the status of TRAN-1 Form of the Petitioner and non-attending to the grievance is sufficient evidence that GSTN is being mis-managed and is not competent to handle GST Portal of Respondent No.1 & 2 and it is a case of breach of trust.
l. That the Respondent No.1 and 2 are helpless in taking action against Respondent No.3 (GSTN) for its acts of omission and commission of blocking utilization of transitional credit to the Petitioner by not allowing the Petitioner the right of filing of GSTR3B Returns for the period July 2017 onwards by illegally tampering the status of TRAN1.
m. That due to illegal tampering of status of TRAN-1by GSTN; the Petitioner has not been able to set off the GST liability and not able to avail input credit in GSTR3B returns and incurring the interest and penal liability which is increasing on daily basis .
n. That a High level enquiry against Respondent No.3 for tampering the status of TRAN-1 filed by the Petitioner is required by Respondent No.1 & 2 by engaging independent IT Experts as tampering of online records by Respondent No.3 is a serious criminal offence.
o. That a criminal case of tampering of online records is required to be filed by Respondent No.1 & 2 against Respondent No.3
p. That since Private Limited Company GSTN has indulged in serious offence of tampering online records and has mismanaged the GST Portal; GSTN is required to be urgently taken over by Respondent No.1 as serious offence of tampering can be investigated only after taking over of GSTN by Respondent No.1 and after replacement of its Top Management.
q. That in spite of taking thousands of crores of tax payer’s money from Respondent No.1 & 2; the Respondent No.3 (GSTN) has not yet opened a single Facilitation Centre in Mumbai for on-spot resolution of grievances in GST Return filing.
r. That CEO of GSTN who is getting a Package of above Rs. 1 Crore out of tax payers’ money has failed to properly manage GSTN and has failed to keep GST Portal secured from tampering and has failed to open a single GSTN Facilitation Centre in Mumbai and is not competent to manage and run GST Portal
s. That in spite of several communications and reminders and representations; the Respondents have not resolved the grievances of the Petitioner and as a result the Petitioner has no option but to approach this Hon’ble High Court for redressal.
t. That the present Writ Petition is maintainable before this Hon’ble Court.
5. The Petitioner craves leave of this Hon’ble Court to add, amend, alter or modify any of the aforesaid grounds as advised.
6. In the premises aforesaid, the Petitioner respectfully submits that it is entitled for a writ of mandamas or any other appropriate writ directions or orders of this Hon’ble court for urgent action in the matter.
7. The Petitioner states that it has been running from pillar to post and has suffered harassment and huge loss due to tampering and inaction by the Respondents and is entitled to reliefs claimed on merit on the facts and in the circumstances of the case.
8. The Petitioner states and submits that it has no other alternative or efficacious remedy available to it except to approach this Hon’ble Court in its writ jurisdiction under article 226 of the Constitution of India.
9. The Petitioner says and submits that the action of Respondents is illegal, improper and inconsistent with the provisions of the CGST Act, 2017 and Maharashtra SGST Act, 2017 and rules framed thereunder, which is going to result into entirely avoidable financial hardship, harassment, loss of time and mental peace of the Petitioner.
10. The Petitioner says and submits that it has not made any other application either before this Hon’ble High Court or any other Courts or to Supreme Court of India in respect of the subject matter of this Petition.
11. The Petitioner is a Public Limited Company engaged in supply of Goods from Maharashtra and is registered and assessed to GST under State of Maharashtra. The Respondent No. 1 and 2 are situated in Mumbai. The Respondent No.3 is running GSTN Portal under Section 146 of CGST Act, 2017/Maharashtra SGST Act, 2017 which is accessed by the Petitioner from the State of Maharashtra. Therefore, this Hon’ble Court has the jurisdiction to entertain, try and dispose of the present writ petition.
12. The Petitioner has paid Court Fee of Rs. 250 /- in respect of this present Petition.
13. The Petitioner relies on the documents; a list whereof is annexed herewith.
14. The Petitioner, therefore, prays: –
a) Union of India may be directed to urgently take over GSTN and to replace its top Management in public interest
b) Respondent No.1 & 2 may be directed to conduct High level enquiry through independent IT Experts(who have no business connection with GSTN) against Respondent No.3 (GSTN) for tampering of status of GST TRAN-1 filed by the Petitioner and directed to submit report of enquiry
before Hon’ble High Court
c) Respondent No.1 & 2 may be directed to file a criminal case of tampering of GST TRAN-1 against Respondent No.3 GSTN
d) Respondents may be directed to rectify the status of TRAN-1 as “Filed” in GSTN Portal
e) Respondents may be directed to urgently open GSTN Facilitation Centre in Mumbai for resolution of issues being faced in filing of returns
f) Respondent may be directed to urgently resolve technical issue in filing of GSTR3B returns for the month of July 2017 onwards till date and filing of returns should be allowed without payment of interest and late fees
g) Respondents may be directed to allow set off of IGST, CGST & SGST liability for the months of August 2017 onwards without payment of interest and late fees by an appropriate order or direction in the form of an appropriate writ
h) CEO of GSTN Mr. Prakash Kumar may be directed to be present in Mumbai so that technical issues in filing may be resolved and the Petitioner may file all pending GSTR3B Returns in his presence and he should remain present in Mumbai till Petitioner is able to file all pending returns from July 2017 onwards up to date in his presence.
i) In case GST Department demands any interest, penalty or late fees for delayed set off of GST liability from the Petitioner; Respondent No.3 (GSTN) may be directed to compensate the said amount to the Petitioner
j) The compensation may be awarded to the Petitioner
k) To pass such other orders and further orders as may be deemed necessary on the facts and in the circumstances of the case.
l) For such other and further relief as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper in the nature and circumstances of the case.
m) For the costs relating to the present Petition.