2018 Taxo.online 346

WP(C).No. 30007 of 2018 dated 19.09.2018

CHAITHANYA GRANITES AND MARBLES

THE ASST STATE TAX OFFICER

2018

GST

Central Goods and Service Tax Act, 2017

Section 129

Dama Seshadri Naidu, Justice

Partly in favour of assessee

High Court

Kerala

Represented by: – 

Petitioner: – Sri.S.Anil Kumar 

Respondent: – Dr Thushara James & Sri Sreelala N Warrier 

Order: – 

The petitioner, a registered dealer under the KVAT Act, has later migrated to the regime of Goods and Services Tax Act. Recently, it purchased goods from a company in Maharashtra under Exts.P1 to P1(b) invoices. It generated Exts.P2 to P2(b) e-way bills and entrusted the goods to a parcel agency to be transported to Kerala.  

  1. When the goods reached Surathkal, Karnataka, first, the vehicle broke down and required repairs. Once the vehicle got repaired on 13.08.2018, as is evident from Ext.P4; the transporter wanted to resume the journey. But in the meanwhile, the State of Kerala was caught in an unprecedented flood. To reach Edapally, Ernakulam, the transporter had no motorable road because most roads, by then, were inundated—even breached. The transport thus took more than usual time to reach Edapally. By then, the e-way bill had expired. 
  2. In that background, the respondent authorities intercepted the vehicle at Kasaragod and detained the goods under Section 129 of the GST Act. Faced with the Ext.P7 order of detention, the petitioner submitted the Exts.P8 and P8(a) replies. Later, after failing in its effort to have the interim custody of the goods, the petitioner has filed this Writ Petition. 
  3. In response to the submissions made by the petitioner’s counsel, the Government Pleader has submitted that the petitioner had ample time to have the consignment transported to Edappally, on time. According to her, the vehicle was ready by 13.08.2018. And from Surathkal in Karnataka, it would not have taken the transporters so many days to reach Kerala—that is, beyond the time fixed in the e-way bill. She has also submitted that the flood situation deteriorated only beyond 18.08.2018. To testify to the flood situation, she asserts that the Government too has issued circulars in that regard. 
  4. The petitioner’s counsel, in response, submits that there was no reason for the transporter to delay the consignment once it had a valid e-way bill. According to him, it is common knowledge that the floods prevented all sorts of conveyance and transport; the petitioner’s goods were caught in those unprecedented floods. 
  5. Heard the learned counsel for the petitioner as also the learned Government Pleader. 
  6. The record bears out that the e-way bill generated on 01.08.2018 was valid up to 18.08.2018. Undeniably, the petitioner’s vehicle, as seen from the Ext.P4, broke down at Surathkal in Karnataka and was ready only on 13.08.2018. If it had begun the journey the next day, by 15.08.2018; it must have been passing through Kerala the next day. But by 16.08.2018 the flood situation in Kerala worsened. Perhaps, the transporter must have played safe and waited for the roads to clear. And that did not immediately happen. 
  7. I reckon that the petitioner has every document to transport the goods safely, save the expiry of the time prescribed in the e-way bill. It is preposterous to contend that the petitioner delayed the transport deliberately—for no purpose. Granted, I cannot find fault with the authorities in detaining the goods. But once the petitioner has explained the circumstances through Exts.P8 and P8(a), they ought to have taken a lenient view—rather a practical view, at that. 

Under these circumstances, I dispose of the writ petition, holding that the respondents will release the goods after securing personal bond from the petitioner—that is, without insisting on the bank guarantee. This arrangement, I clarify, will not affect the adjudication under Section 129 of the Act. 

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