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Writ Petition cannot be a tool to escape the statutory remedies available under the law-Supreme Court of India.

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Dated: 4-6-2022

2021 (9) TMI 480 - Supreme Court

Writ Petition cannot be a tool to escape the statutory remedies available under the law-Supreme Court of India.

The present writ petition arises on account of a tax and penalty with interest collected from the Respondent firm.

The firm being engaged in the business of iron and steel had purchased goods from a dealer in Karnataka. It so happened by mistake that the truck lost its way and reached Jeedimetala. The tax invoice indicated that the goods were earmarked for delivery at Balanagar, Telangana.

The case against the aforesaid firm was that Balanagar, Telangana was situated in a centre point between the State of Karnataka and Balanagar, Telangana. The allegation being that the truck would never cross Balanagar and reach Jeedimetala and then again go to Balanagar.

As alleged by the revenue, in the guise of an inter-State sale, the firm was attempting to sell the goods in the local market by evading SGST and CGST. An order of detention was issued in Form GST MOV-06 on 12 December 2019 and a notice was served on the person in charge of the conveyance. The firm paid the tax and penalty, following which the goods and the conveyance were released on 13 December 2019.

The firm filed for writ proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution before the High Court to challenge the order of detention dated 12 December 2019 and the notice issued under Section 20 of the IGST Act 2017. A refund of tax was sought too.

The hon'ble high court entertained the writ petition considering that a mere possibility of a local sale would not empower the officials to take such an action and there was no material/evidence to indicate that an attempt was made by the firm to deliver the goods at a different place and to sell them in the local market evading CGST and SGST. The high court also accepted that the truck driver lost its way and moved past Balanagar to reach Jeedimetala.

Revenue went to the hon'ble supreme court of India by way of a Civil Appeal.

The counsel for the revenue emphasised in the hon'ble supreme court that there was no violation of the principles of natural justice as a  writ petition can be entertained in exceptional circumstances where there is:

(i) a breach of fundamental rights;

(ii) a violation of the principles of natural justice;

(iii) an excess of jurisdiction; or

(iv) a challenge to the vires of the statute or delegated legislation.

None of the above exceptions were satisfactorily made out by the aforesaid firm before the Hon'ble supreme court.

Revenue contended that there was statutory alternative remedy which is available under Section 107 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, but the firm directly went to the high court by way of writ petition.

The hon'ble supreme court without making any observation on the merits of the case set aside the impugned order of the High Court and directed to pursue the statutory remedy available under section 107 of Central Goods and Services Tax Act to redress its grievances against the state.

This note may guide the readers that a writ being a constitutional remedy has to be used sparingly and if a remedy is available under the statute, the same ought to be taken first in comparison to invoking the writ juridiction.


Full Text:

2021 (9) TMI 480 - Supreme Court

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