At, High Court of Kerala
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE A.K. JAYASANKARAN NAMBIAR
For the Petitioner: K. Srikumar, Senior Advocate, K. Manoj Chandran, P.R. Ajithkumar, S.A. Mansoor (Pattanam), Advocates. For the Respondents: Thushara James, Government Pleader.
1. A consignment of marble, granite slabs and tiles that was being transported at the instance of the petitioner was detained by the respondent. Ext.P3 is the detention notice issued to the petitioner under Section 129(3) of the CGST/SGST Act, 2017. It is the case of the petitioner that the defect indicated in Ext.P3 notice is only a technical one, and therefore ought not to have been a reason for detaining the goods especially when it was not proved that there was any attempt at evasion of tax by the petitioner.
2. I have heard the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner and also the learned Government Pleader appearing for the respondents.
On a consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case and the submissions made across the Bar, I dispose the writ petition with the following directions:
(i) On a perusal of Ext.P3 detention notice, I find that the defect pointed out in the transportation of the goods is that the vehicle details was not updated in the e-way bill as mandated by Rule 138(2) of the CGST/SGST Rule of 2017. The learned Government Pleader would submit, on instructions, that inasmuch as the e-way bill has been made a mandatory document with effect from 1.4.2018, the petitioner cannot be heard to contend that a minor defect in a mandatory document cannot be a ground for detention. On a perusal of the rival submissions, and finding that a Division Bench of this Court has already found that the goods detained under a detention notice issued in terms of the CGST/SGST Act cannot be released unless a security equal to the amount demanded is insisted from the assessee, I am of the view that the ends of justice would be served by directing the 1st respondent to release the goods and the vehicle to the petitioner on the petitioner furnishing a bank guarantee for the security amount demanded in Ext.P3 detention notice, before the said authority. I do so.
(ii) The 1st respondent shall thereafter proceed to adjudicate the issue with regard to imposition of penalty on the petitioner within an outer time limit of two weeks from the date
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of receipt of a copy of this judgment, untrammelled by the observations in this judgment. (iii) The petitioner shall produce a copy of this judgment and a copy of the writ petition before the 1st respondent.