M.S. Steel and Pipes v. Assistant State Tax officer – 2020 (40) G.S.T.L. 175 (High Court-Kerala)

Mere non-mentioning of the tax payment details separately in E-way bill does not result in detention of goods.

Facts: In this case, the goods of the petitioner were detained on the grounds that the E-way bill does not separately mentions the details of the tax payment details despite of the fact that invoice separately contains such details. The Respondent GST authorities contended that, it is the obligation of every person making the supply should prepare the documents in complete and prominent manner. Further, as per the provisions of Section 129 of the CGST Act, petitioner has submitted incomplete documents since E-way bill is a document necessary for transportation of goods. 

Issue: whether the contention of the petitioner is correct, that there is no requirement under the Act and Rules for mentioning the tax amount separately in the e-way bill in FORM GST EWB-01 which is obliged to use to cover the transportation in question.

Held: The Hon’ble Kerala High Court held as

  • When there is transport in the contravention of the Acts and Rules, then only the power of detention under section 129 can be invoked. 
  • Goods cannot be detained merely on the ground that document relevant for assessment does not contain details of tax payment separately.
  • The person transporting goods is obliged to carry only the documents enumerated in Rule 138(A) of CGST Rules, 2017 during the course of transportation. The said documents are (i) the invoice or bill of supply or delivery challan, as the case may be and (ii) the copy of e-way bill in physical form or e-way bill Number in electronic form etc.
  • The CGST Act, 2017 clearly indicates that the E-way bill has to be filed in FORM GST EWB-01. In the prescribed format of the said form, there is no such field  wherein the transporter is required to indicate the tax amount payable in respect of the goods transported. If the statutorily prescribed form does not contain a field for entering the details of the tax payable, it cannot be considered as an act of contravention of the Section 129 of the Act and Rules thereunder. 
  • Since there was no contravention by the petitioner of any provision of the Act or Rule for the purposes of Section 129, the detention in the instant case cannot be said to be justified, and the respondent was directed to release the detained goods. 

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