At, High Court of Judicature at Madras
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE ACHINTYA MALLA BUJOR BARUA
For the Petitioner: A.K. Gupta, Advocate. For the Respondent: Asstt. S.G.I.
1. Heard Mr. R.S. Mishra, learned counsel for the petitioner. Also heard Mr. S.C. Keyal, learned ASGI appearing for the respondents in the Ministry of Finance, Government of India and the authorities under the GST.
2. The petitioner in course of their transaction was imposed a penalty of Rs.86,74,199/- as per the order dated 31.12.2019 of the Joint Commissioner, CGST & CX, Guwahati. The petitioner in order to avail the benefits under a scheme called Sabka Vishwas (Legacy Dispute Resolution) Scheme, 2019 (in short Scheme 2019) had submitted their particulars in the prescribed SVLDRS-1 form. Inadvertently while submitting the form, the aforesaid penalty imposed on the petitioner was not stated and in turn in the relevant column it was stated that the penalty imposed upon the petitioner was ’0’.
3. In view of such inadvertent mistake by the petitioner made in the SVLDRS-1 form their claim for the benefit under the Scheme of 2019 stood rejected by the order dated 31.12.2019. By the said order it was stated that the reason for rejection was that the amount of penalty had not been stated in the SVLDRS-1 form which makes it an incorrect declaration.
4. The issue as to whether an inadvertent mistake as regards the penalty imposed being not correctly stated in the SVLDRS-1 form, has been decided by this Court in its judgment dated 04.05.2020 in WP(C)No.2149/2020. The relevant portion of the said judgment is extracted as below:
“6.In the circumstance, the only issue before the Court would be whether the claim of the petitioner for the benefit under Scheme 2019 would stand rejected as because of the aforesaid mistake of not mentioning the penalty or a different view can also be taken in the matter. Admittedly the Finance Act, 1994 wherein, Scheme 2019 has been incorporated does not provide for any provision for re submitting an application claiming the benefit under the scheme.”
“7. In the circumstance, we are required to look into the matter from the perspective as to whether by not mentioning the penalty in the Form SVLDRS-1, the petitioner had committed an incurable mistake so as to disentitle the petitioner from the benefits under the Scheme2019 or the mistake that was made can be allowed to be corrected. Apparently, a mistake made can be of two different types, one being a mistake based upon which a legal right is claimed so that the mistake made can be construed to be an act of misleading the authorities to claim a benefit which otherwise a party is not entitled or the mistake made was more of inadvertent nature, which can also be terms as a callous mistake, which does not put the party making such mistake on an undue advantageous position so as to make them entitled to a benefit which they are otherwise not. A mistake that was deliberately made to claim an undue benefit which the party was otherwise not entitled, would definitely have to be construed to be an incurable mistake but at the same time an inadvertent mistake which may also creep in due to an oversight or because of a callous attitude of the person making the claim but the ultimate result of such mistake would not accrue a benefit which he otherwise would not have been entitled can be accepted to be a curable mistake.”
“8. In the instant case, the mistake made by the petitioner was that the penalty imposed was stated to be zero whereas it is already on record that the respondent authorities had imposed a penalty of Rs.11,48,82,644.00 (Rupees Eleven Crore Forty Eight Lakhs Eighty Two Thousand Six Hundred Forty Four). In our view the mistake made by the petitioner by not stating about the penalty imposed upon them in Form SVLDRS-1 cannot be said to be a mistake by which the petitioner claimed an undue benefit which they otherwise are not entitled under the law. When we look into the Scheme 2019, we do not find any provision which provides that a person upon whom a penalty is imposed would not be entitled to the benefit given under the scheme. Infact on the contrary the provision of the Scheme 2019may be such that the benefit of exemption, may even be applicable to the amount of penalty imposed, in which event, the petitioner assesse may be more benefited and would be entitled to a greater exemption if the amount of penalty was mentioned rather than not mentioning the penalty.”
5. It is agreed between the parties that the issue involved in this writ petition is also squarely covered by the said judgment dated 04.05.2020 in WP(C)No.2149/2020.
6. In view of such agreement this writ petition also stands disposed of by requiring the petitioner to submit an application before the respondent authorities for correction to be made in the information provided in the Form SVLDRS-1 as regards the penalty imposed and upon such application being made, the respondent authorities would pass a reasoned speaking order thereon. The requirement of submitting application be made within a period of 15 days from obtaining the certified copy of the order and upon receiving of the application, the respondents shall pass an order on the same within a period of 2(two) months from the date of receipt of the application.
7. It is stated that pursuant to the verbal communication with
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the petitioner by the respondent authorities, the petitioner has submitted another Form SVLDRS-1 declaration by depicting the correct fact, but the same was also rejected on the ground that the second Form SVLDRS-1 is not maintainable. The same on its own shall not preclude the petitioner from requiring him to submit an application for correction of the information provided in the first Form SVLDRS-1 as provided in this order and upon any such application being made, the respondent would pass a reasoned speaking order thereof. 8. Writ petition is accordingly disposed of.