The Hon’ble High Court of Tripura vide its order dated 03.01.2023 in the matter of M/s Balaji Steel Rolling Mills Ltd. Vs. The State of Tripura and Others in WP(C) No. – 548 of 2021, set aside the order imposing heavy penalty on the assessee for expiry of E-way Bill. It was found that the E-way bills expired during the transit and the assessee was not in a position to ask for its renewal to the competent authority.
The Petitioner filed the writ petition before the Hon’ble High Court challenging the impugned order dated 16.04.2021, whereby the appeals filed by the petitioner were dismissed.
- That the vehicle carrying the taxable goods of the petitioner entered the State of Tripura few days after the expiry of e-way bills. However, the vehicle was carrying duty-paid goods and there was no attempt to evade duty.
- Despite the above fact, the authorities imposed fresh levy of duty with penalty. Being aggrieved, the Petitioner moved a writ petition no. W.P. (C) No. 179 of 2020 before this Court praying for release of seized goods in favour of the petitioner.
- The Hon’ble Court while disposing the said Writ petition, directed for release of goods, on deposit of 25%of the tax in dispute and penalty and bond securing the total demand, within three days of the said deposit and the bond. The petitioner was provided 15 days’ time for filing the appeal.
- Pursuant to the said order of the Hon’ble High Court, the Petitioner filed two appeals before the Additional Commissioner of State Tax within the time provided by the order. However, the Appellate Authority dismissed both the appeals vide its order dated 16.04.2021.
Petitioner’s Submissions: –
- It was submitted on the behalf of the Petitioner that the petitioner purchased two lots of Machineries and was loaded in two trucks, and were to be delivered to the petitioner at Agartala.
- For the said purpose, on 02.02.2020, the ‘e-Way bills’ were generated which were valid up to 15.02.2020. However, due to some unexpected circumstances, the movement of the said vehicle was delayed and the vehicle reached Churaibari on 17.02.2020.
- That the GST authorities have imposed heavy penalty for expiry of aforesaid e-way bills, which is grossly irrational and arbitrary. The impugned order dated 16.04.2021 has not rendered substantive and conscionable justice to the petitioner and therefore, it is liable to be quashed and set aside.
On the other hand, it was submitted on the behalf of the respondents that the whole e-way bill system has now gone online and the same could have been extended on time but was not extended.
- The Hon’ble Court after considering the submissions made and facts of the case, found that e-way bills had expired during the transit and the petitioner was not in a position to ask for its renewal to the competent authority when the vehicle entered into the territory of the State of Tripura.
- Therefore, the Hon’ble Court was of the view that impugned order dated 16.04.2021 passed by the Appellate Authority is not just and proper and the same is liable to be set aside.
The Hon’ble Court with the above findings, allowed the Writ petition by setting aside the impugned order dated 16.04.2021. The petitioner is entitled to all the consequential benefits including the refund.