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2023 (3) TMI 289 - HC - GST
Levy of penalty upon the petitioner for transporting goods against an expired e-way bill - petitioner contends that he ought not to be imposed the penalty amount as the petitioner was in no way responsible for the delay in issuing the gate pass at Cooch Behar - HELD THAT:- There may or may not be valid reasons for not being able to transport the goods within the validity period of the e-way bill. The petitioner may not have any intention to evade tax; but can that be a valid ground to transport goods without a valid e-way bill.
The Act is very clear on the issue. Law bars transportation of certain goods beyond a particular distance without a valid e-way bill. The petitioner being aware of the legal requirement generated the e-way bill prior to transportation of the goods. Due to some unknown reason there was delay in issuing gate pass at the check post for which the transportation got delayed resulting in non-delivery of goods within the stipulated time period. Law prescribes generation of fresh e-way bill for transportation of goods if the same cannot be delivered on time - It is the duty of the owner/transporter/consignor/consignee to keep track of the consignment and do the needful for transporting the goods in accordance with law. The interception and detention of goods without valid documents are permissible in law. The authority intercepting the vehicle in the course of movement is not supposed to appreciate the reasons as to why the vehicle was moving without a valid e-way bill.
Transportation of goods with a proper e-way bill is one of the salient features of the Act. There is no scope to dilute the said provision of law for granting relief to an errant transporter. The Act cannot and ought not to be interpreted in such a manner that the very essence of the same is lost. Section 129 of the Act opens with a non obstante clause which lends a mandatory character to the same. The petitioner may or may not be directly responsible for the delay in issuance of the gate pass, but he is certainly at fault in transporting goods without a valid e-way bill.