The Bombay High Court quashed the provisional attachment order of attaching the bank account under the GST Act.
The petitioner, Praful Nanji Satra has rented out commercial premises on a leave and license basis receiving license fees from the licensees. Since the petitioner is required to pay goods and services taxes (GST) on such license fee, he is duly registered with the GST department and submitting GST returns regularly.
The respondent carried out search operations in the office address of the petitioner in respect of other companies having their offices there, namely, Satra Retail Private Limited, Bleu Noir Infrastructures Private Limited, Prarush Impex, and Minaxi Satra Ventures whereafter, summons under section 70 of the Maharashtra Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 were issued. However, no such search was undertaken against the petitioner and the petitioner has not received any summons from the office of the respondent.
The petitioner had submitted GST returns till February 2020 and had accordingly paid GST. However, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the petitioner had not received any license fee in respect of the rented premises from March 2020, and accordingly, no GST was deposited from March 2020.
Resultantly, the petitioner submitted GST return for June 2020 declaring NIL tax. As it is, respondents had extended the last date for filing of GST return till July 31, 2020.
The petitioner came to know that his bank account maintained with the ICICI Bank, Andheri West Branch, Mumbai, was provisionally attached by respondent. As a result, the petitioner was prevented from operating the said bank account.
Aggrieved by such provisional attachment order of bank account, petitioner submitted detailed representation before the respondent, requesting the said authority to withdraw the provisional attachment of bank account forthwith. However, there was no response to the said representation.
The coram of Justice Milind N.Jadhav and Ujjal Bhuyan found that the impugned attachment of bank account has been found to be without jurisdiction, availability of alternative remedy in the form of filing objection under rule 159(5) of the MGST Rules would be no bar to the petitioner from seeking relief under writ jurisdiction.
The court held that the impugned provisional attachment order dated 19.06.2020 cannot be sustained. The same is hereby set aside and quashed. Consequently, respondents are directed to withdraw the provisional attachment of the bank account of the petitioner bearing account maintained with ICICI Bank Limited, Andheri West Branch, Mumbai.