2022 (11) TMI 552 - HC - GST
Principles of natural justice - opportunity granted to the Petitioner to file a reply to the draft audit report or not - draft audit report as well as the final audit report, issued on the same date - extension of audit period - HELD THAT:- On a plain reading of Section 65 (4) together with Section 65 (6) of the OGST Act and Rule 101(4) of the OGST Rules, it is plain that the procedural requirement of the Petitioner having to be given 30 days’ time to file a reply to the draft audit report was not followed in the present case. On that short ground, this Court sets aside the final audit report dated 30th June, 2022 issued under Section 65 (6) of the OGST Act.
The position would, therefore, revert to the stage, at which the draft audit report was issued on 30th June, 2022. However, even if the Petitioner is afforded an opportunity at this stage to file a reply to the above draft audit report, followed by the authorities issuing the final audit report, the original deadline of three months would be crossed on 21st December 2022. If the exercise is not completed by that date, the entire exercise would be rendered futile. Therefore, the following directions are issued by this Court subject to the condition that the Commissioner will by a reasoned order in terms of the proviso Section 65(4) of the OGST Act extend the time for completion of the audit by the maximum permissible further period of six months in terms thereof.
The Petitioner will file its reply to the draft audit report accompanied by all the documents that the Petitioner wishes to rely on not later than 28th November, 2022 - After considering the reply of the Petitioner, the final audit report will be issued by the Opposite Party Department under Section 65 (6) of the OGST Act not later than 21st December, 2022.
Petition disposed off.