At, In the High Court of Bombay at Goa
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE M.S. SONAK & THE HONOURABLE MRS. JUSTICE M.S. JAWALKAR
For the Petitioner: Nikhil Vaze, Advocate. For the Respondents: D. Pangam, Advocate General with Ankita Kamat, Additional Government Advocate.
Oral Judgment: (M.S. Sonak, J.)
1. Heard Mr. Nikhil Vaze, learned Advocate for the petitioner and Mr. D. Pangam, learned Advocate General with Ms. Ankita Kamat, learned Additional Government Advocate for the respondent – State.
2. Rule, Rule is returnable forthwith at the request and with the consent of the learned Counsel for the parties.
3. The challenge in this petition is to the judgment and order dated 23/06/2020 made by the Administrative Tribunal in Value Added Tax Appeal No.1 of 2018 disposing of the petitioner's challenge to order dated 12/10/2017 made by the Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes and Appellate Authority.
4. The entire case of the petitioner, in this case, was that the amount which the respondents had claimed under the provisions of The Goa Value Added Tax Act, 2005 ("the said Act", for short) was already with the respondents and therefore, there was no question of claiming any interest on the said amount. The Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes and Appellate Authority had not agreed with this contention of the petitioner while making order dated 12/10/2017.
5. In appeal, however, the Tribunal, accepting the petitioner's contention that the Appellate Authority had not appreciated the petitioner's contention, particularly in the manner in which the same was raised. The Tribunal, therefore, held that the matter requires reconsideration. However, the Tribunal, instead of remanding the matter to the Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes and Appellate Authority has remanded the matter by the impugned order dated 23/06/2020 to the Commissioner for consideration whether the petitioner should get remission of interest under Section25(4) of the said Act.
6. Mr. Vaze, learned Counsel for the petitioner submits that the issue of remission is not quite irrelevant at this stage. He submits that the petitioner is entitled to a consideration of its contention that no interest whatsoever was payable. He submits that since this contention was disposed of by the First Appellate Authority, without assigning any reason, it is only appropriate that the matter should go back to the First Appellate Authority for reconsideration of this contention.
7. The learned Advocate General accepts that the matter can go to the Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes and Appellate Authority for reconsideration of the petitioner's contention that no interest was payable in the peculiar circumstances of the case. According to us, the Tribunal, after having accepted the petitioner's case that there was no valid consideration of their main contention or that there was no reason assigned for rejection of his main contention, would have remanded the matter to the Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes and Appellate Authority and not the Commissioner to exercise power under Section 25(4) of the said Act.
8. Accordingly, we modify the impugned order dated 23/06/2020 and direct that the petitioner's appeal before the Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes and Appellate Authority to restore and for the reasons the matter shall stand remanded to the Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes and Appellate Authority for fresh disposal in accordance with law and by complying with the direction in the Tribunal's impugned Order dated 23/06/2020.
9. The petitioners/ their representatives to appear before the Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes and Appellate Authority on 02/08/2021 at 04.00 P.M. and to file authenticated copy of this order.
10. The Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes and Appellate Authority to endevour to dispose of the appeal expeditiously and in any case within a period of four months from today.
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is made clear that this Court has not adverted to the merits of the matter and therefore, all the contentions of all the parties are left open for determination of the Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes and Appellate Authority. 12. The Rule is disposed of in the aforesaid terms. There shall be no order as to costs. 13. All concerned to act on the basis of an authenticated copy of this order.