Alternative Remedy Not a Bar on Violation of Natural Justice Principles Irrespective of fact that Assessee filed Reply or Not, rules Chhattisgarh HC

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While overruling an order passed by the Single Judge, a division bench of the Chhattisgarh High Court has held that the alternative statutory remedy cannot be an absolute bar when there is a violation of natural justice principles irrespective of the fact that the assessee has filed the reply or not during the GST proceedings.

The petitioner-appellant approached the division bench against the order of the Single bench contending that the Single Judge did not consider the provision contained in Section 75(4) of the Central GST Act of 2017, which provides that an opportunity of hearing shall be granted when a request is received in writing from the person chargeable with tax or penalty, or where any adverse decision is contemplated against such person. Drawing attention of the Court to letter dated 20.08.2021 it was contended that the petitioner had specifically prayed for grant of personal hearing and yet, no personal hearing was provided to the appellant.

The department, on the other hand, has submitted that no personal hearing was granted to the appellant and the same was in view of the fact that by letter dated 20.10.2021, though the appellant had prayed for 30 days’ time to file reply to the notice dated 11.10.2021, subsequently, he did not file any reply, but, on 30.10.2021, took a plea that he had not been served a detailed show-cause notice and that DRC-01 dated 11.10.2021 is merely a summary of demand as per Rule 142(1) the GST Rules, 2017.

Chief Justice Shri Arup Kumar Goswami and Shri Arvind Singh Chandel, Judge observed that “Alternative remedy is not an absolute bar if there is violation of principles of natural justice. Irrespective of the fact as to whether the appellant had filed reply or not, it is evident that the appellant had prayed for a personal hearing, which was, admittedly, not granted to the appellant. In that view of the matter, we are of the opinion that it will not be equitable to relegate the appellant to avail alternative remedy.”To Read the full text of the Order CLICK HERE

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Mahendra Sponge and Power Limited vs Assistant Commissioner State Tax

Counsel for Appellant:   Mr. Bhishma Ahluwalia

Counsel for Respondent:   Ms. Astha Shukla


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