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Validity of incomplete order served upon taxpayer through GST Portal?

High Court set aside the incomplete order served upon taxpayer and advised the authority to develop means to ascertain how many pages of a document and how many characters are uploaded at any given point of time by authority or assessee on GST Portal to have better audit trail of functioning. 

Brief of case

Challenge has been raised to the summary order DRC-07 passed by the Assistant Commissioner.

Learned counsel for the Revenue Authority has raised a preliminary objection as to alternative remedy available to the petitioner to challenge the aforesaid order. The preliminary objection has been met by the learned counsel for the petitioner by submitting that the copy of the order uploaded on the GSTN portal and as is visible to the petitioner does not mention/disclose the reasons therefor. 

Upon such submissions, by an earlier order we had required the learned Standing Counsel to view the GSTN portal of the petitioner alongwith learned counsel for the petitioner to ascertain if the complete copy of the impugned order is visible and therefore available to the petitioner as may allow it to file the appeal against it.

Today learned counsel for the Revenue Authority fairly states that due to some error the copy of the impugned order visible to the petitioner on the GSTN portal is only that which has been annexed to the writ petition. Clearly that order does not contain any reason. On the other hand the copy of the impugned order annexed to the personal affidavit of Assistant Commissioner does contain reasons for that order.

Held

In view of such facts it has to be accepted in law that the impugned order does not contain reasons. This conclusion is being drawn as unless the complete copy of the order containing the reasons is served on the petitioner/assessee, he may never have any right to challenge the same before any forum including the appellate forum. The fact that the Assessing Officer may have available to it another copy of the same order which may contain reasons therefor, may be of no help to the Revenue Authority as such copy of the order has not been served on the petitioner/assessee. Therefore, it cannot be relied upon to any extent.

Applying the above principle, we find that the order served on the petitioner and as has been impugned in the writ petition is wholly defective and lacking in vital aspect namely reasons for the conclusions drawn therein.

Accordingly the order DRC-07 dated 20.7.2021 passed by the Assistant Commissioner is set aside and the matter remitted to the Assessing Officer who shall now issue a fresh notice to the petitioner and supply all adverse material (relied against the petitioner) alongwith such notice. The petitioner shall thereafter be granted two weeks' time to file his written reply thereto. The Assessing Officer shall thereafter fix the matter for hearing within a further period of two weeks and pass appropriate orders containing the reasons. Besides uploading such order on the GSTN portal, the Assessing Officer shall also serve on the petitioner a copy of that order, by registered post AD.

Let a copy of this order be communicated to the respondent No.4 who may enquire into the exact reasons as to why and how an incomplete copy of the order impugned came to be uploaded on the GSTN portal. It is further expected that the said respondent shall take all remedial action to ensure that complete copies of the orders are visible to the assessees and also it shall attempt to provide a verifiable means/electronic trail/audit etc. to ascertain (where required) how many pages of a document and how many characters were uploaded at any given point of time by any authority or the assessee on the GSTN portal.

Such improvement/upgrade is necessary to be made since under the GST Act service of notices and filing of replies is primarily to be done through the GSTN portal through electronic means. Unless due verification can be made of notices issued and filings made, wholly avoidable litigations such as the present case are bound to come.


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Author:

TaxReply


Nov 15, 2021

Comments


Why don't u provide case no.date.court
By: Senthi Kumar | Dt: Nov 29, 2021


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