At, High Court of Judicature at Madras
By, THE HONOURABLE DR.(MRS.) JUSTICE ANITA SUMANTH
For the Petitioner: Lakshmi Sriram, Advocate. For the Respondents: ANR. Jayapratap, Government Advocate.
(Common Prayer: Writ Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying for the issuance of Writ of Certiorari, to call for the records on the file of the first respondent herein, quash the impugned order of assessment passed by the first respondent in GST Ins Sl. No.14./2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 (unregistered) dated 18.10.2019 as ex-facie illegal, contrary to the Notification, Circular and the provisions of the TNGST Act and violation of principle of natural justice.)Common Order:1. Mr.ANR.Jayaprathap, learned Government Advocate accepts notice for the respondents and is armed with instructions to proceed with the matter. By consent, the above Writ Petitions are taken up for final disposal even at the stage of admission.2. The challenge in these Writ Petition is to three orders of assessment, all dated 18.10.2019, passed by the State Tax Officer (R1) in terms of the provisions of the Goods and Service Tax Act, 2017 for the periods 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20.3. I need hardly advert to the merits, insofar as I am of the view that the petitioner has not been afforded an effective opportunity of hearing in the matter. The order has been passed exparte. The petitioner has placed on record a medical certificate dated 05.03.2020 certifying that the partner of the petitioner firm was suffering from ‘Infective Hepatits’ and on bed rest between 06.09.2019 and 18.02.2020.4. It is not in dispute that the petitioner has received the orders of assessment and filed statutory appeals on 28.02.2020 with a delay of 30 days. Applications seeking condonation of delay were also filed. However, on 13.03.2020, the appeals were returned for the reason that they were not filed online, date of receipt of orders was not produced and pre-deposit of 10% of the disputed tax was not effected. Around then, the COVID pandemic struck and the petitioner appears to have lost sight of proceedings thereafter. In the interim, a bank account of the petitioner also appears to have been attached in July, 2020.5. On the basis of the narration as above, I am of the view that the impugned orders have been passed without the petitioner having been extended an effective opportunity of hearing to put forth its contentions. The medical certificate placed on record supports the position that the petitioner was not in a position to have defended its stand effectively during the course of proceedings for assessment and circumstances thereafter also prevented effective redressal of the same. The petitioner has however approached the appellate authority in time and has not been negligent in taking recourse to remedial measures.6. To a suggestion of the Court that the matter be remanded back to afford the petitioner a fair opportunity of hearing, no serious objection is put forth by the learned Government Advocate for the respondents.7. The impugned orders dated 18.10.2019 are thus set aside. The petitioner will appear before the first respondent on 10.02.2021 at 10.30 a.m. without awaiting any further notice in this regard. Upon consideration of all objections and evidences put for by the petitioner in support o
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f its contentions, orders of assessment, de novo be passed on or before 24.03.2021, in accordance with law. The attachment of the bank account of the petitioner will continue till passing of, and subject to final orders of assessment.8. These Writ Petitions are allowed in the aforesaid terms. No costs. Connected Miscellaneous Petitions are closed.