In W.P. No.5114 of 2023-AP HC- Andhra Pradesh HC directs Assistant Commissioner to issue fresh show cause notice in GST matter where assessee had no occasion to make personal appearance due to prevalence of COVID-19 pandemic
Justices U. Durga Prasad Rao & V. Gopala Krishna Rao [17-03-2023]
Amaravati, March 18, 2023: The Andhra Pradesh High Court has allowed a Writ Petition and set aside an Assessment Order passed by the Assistant Commissioner as the assessee was unable to present its case due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Division Bench of Justice U. Durga Prasad Rao & Justice V. Gopala Krishna Rao was considering a challenge to the Assessment Order passed by the first respondent- Assistant Commissioner (ST).
It was the petitioner’s case that that, though it was mentioned that show cause notice dated June 3, 2020 was sent calling for explanation/objections for making assessment, however due to prevalence of COVID-19 pandemic, the petitioner had not received the show cause notice and consequently there was no occasion for petitioner to make any personal appearance to submit its case, and indeed the petitioner was not heard.
Hence, the petitioner urged that the impugned Assessment Order may be set aside and the respondent may be directed to afford an opportunity to the petitioner to submit its explanation/objections to the show cause notice and to pass the Assessment Order afresh.
The Bench noted the fact that in the impugned order dated April 28, 2022, though at reference it was mentioned as if the show cause notice in Form GST DRC-01 was issued, there was no further reference as to whether the aforesaid notice was in fact served on the petitioner and if so the date of service.
Further in the impugned order, there was no specific mentioning as to granting of an opportunity of personal hearing to the petitioner.
“Admittedly, during the relevant period of notice COVID-19 pandemic was in prevalence and in that view, we find force in the submission of the learned counsel for petitioner”, the Bench said while setting aside the impugned Assessment Order.
Thus, allowing the Writ Petition and setting aside the impugned Assessment Order, the Bench directed the respondent to issue a fresh show cause notice to the petitioner within two weeks giving sufficient time to the petitioner to submit its explanation/objections. The Bench added that upon receiving the objections, the respondent would conduct an enquiry by affording an opportunity of personal hearing to the petitioner, and pass appropriate Assessment Order afresh.
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