The Punjab VAT Tribunal in one of my cases namely Welspun Projects Limited vs State of Punjab Appeal No. 146 of 2014 decided on 27.04.2015, has quashed the penalty levied u/s 51 of Punjab VAT Act, 2005 on the roadside, as the same was levied without serving proper notice and thereby denying reasonable opportunity of being heard to the appellant.
The facts of the case were that the goods were detained u/s 51 of Punjab VAT Act, 2005 on the ICC barrier. The case was decided ex-parte after issuing just one day notice that too on the driver of the vehicle, no notice was served on the appellant. It was stated in the order that notice has been received by Bhiku Bhai an employee of the firm, but there was no evidence to support the same.
First appellate authority i.e. DETC(A), Jalandhar dismissed the appeal.
On appeal to the Tribunal it was held as under:
“Having persued the order passed by the Detaining Officer, it appears that the same is ex-parte having been passed only after one day notice that too on the driver of the vehicle. No notice was served upon the appellant. The case was transferred to the Designated Officer on 12.11.2011. Notice was issued by the designated officer for 16.11.2011 and thereafter for 25.11.2011. Notice is stated to have been received by Biku Bhai an employee of the firm. But there is no evidence if the appellant or his employee actually received the notice.
Though it is stated in the order that on enquiry, it was found that the appellant had no business premises at the given address. No enquiry report regarding the functioning the firm has been produced before me. In the absence of such enquiry report, it can not be said that appellant was not functioning and has no TIN number. Thus it appears that the Designated Officer did not properly serve notice and provided reasonable opportunity to the appellant before imposing an order of penalty. The order of penalty appears to have been passed without application of mind.
Resultantly this appeal is accepted impugned orders are set aside and the case is remitted back to the Designated Officer with a direction that he would pass a speaking order after hearing the appellant. The appellant is directed to appear before the Designated Officer on 07.07.2015. The Officer would decide the case within 3 months from the date of receipt of this order.”
The full judgement can be downloaded herebelow:
(Author – Amit Bajaj Advocate, Bajaj & Bajaj Advocates, 128, Sangam complex, Milap chowk, Jalandhar City (Punjab), Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , M +919815243335)