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Andhra Pradesh High Court directed GST Authorities to accept TRAN-1 where petitioner has made various efforts from 2017 to 2019 for the same.

Facts of Case

The petitioner attempted to file TRAN-1 on 24.12.2017, but as the portal was frozen or jammed, he could not uploaded the TRAN-1. It is averred that he tried on many occasions subsequent thereto, but could not upload the same, as portal was not opening. The petitioner is said to have brought to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner of Central Tax, Kurnool Division vide letter dated 19.11.2018, his inability to upload TRAN-1 form and requested the 2nd respondent to forward the application to the concerned Nodal Officer. It is said that, on 29.11.2018, the Superintendent of Central Tax, Kurnool called for statements containing details of credit eligible and not claimed under TRAN-1, along with reasons for non-claiming the credit. In response to which, the petitioner submitted a letter dated 12.12.2018, enclosing statement containing details of eligible credit and statutory returns of ST-3 returns and VAT returns and also the efforts made to file TRAN-1 in December 2017. It is said that vide letter dated 29.1.2019, the 1st respondent herein asked the petitioner to submit details of complaint/communications made with GSTN help desk along with proof of genuine attempt for processing the request of the petitioner to the 3rd respondent. Vide letter dated 2.2.2019, the petitioner submitted details of technical problems faced by the petitioner, in form Table-B as prescribed under Standard Operation Procedure. As the last date for filing the TRAN-1 was extended up to 31.12.2019, which according to the petitioner was approaching fast, he addressed a letter dated 11.11.2019 to the 1st respondent stating that no intimation was received from the technical team and there was no response to the application submitted by him. It is averred that number of personal visits to the office of respondents 1 and 2 and a reminder letter dated 2.12.2019 proved futile. While things stood thus, on 20.12.2019, the 1st respondent intimated to the petitioner that his request was not approved on the ground that there is no evidence of error or submission/filing of TRAN-1. Aggrieved by the same, the present Writ Petition came to be filed.

Held by High Court

It is not a case where the petitioner has not made any efforts in getting TRAN-1 form uploaded in the GST portal. Efforts were made in December, 2017 and thereafter in the years 2018 and 2019, which is evident from the communications referred to earlier. Therefore, non-filing of screenshots in our view cannot be a ground to reject the request on the ground that no effort was made, since the communication between the petitioner and the respondents is not in dispute. As observed in Uninav Developers Pvt. Ltd.’s case (3 supra) the GST system is still in a trial and error phase and it will be too much of a burden to place on the Assessee to expect them to comply with the requirement of the law where they are unable to even connect to the system on account of network failures or other failures. Further, question of preserving screenshots by everyone may not be possible having regard to the conditions prevailing in the country and also the facilities that are available for an uneducated assessee. 

In view of the law laid down in the judgments referred to above and as the petitioner could not upload the TRAN-1 form electronically due to technical snags and since Government of India has been extending the time regularly for submitting TRAN-1 forms, we feel that it is a fit case where the request of the petitioner can be considered.

Accordingly, the Writ Petition is disposed of directing the respondents herein either to open the portal to enable the petitioner to again file GST TRAN-1 form electronically or in the alternative accept the GST TRAN-1 form manually on or before 30.9.2020.

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Sep 8, 2020

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