The Central Board of Indirect Tax and Customs (CBIC) issued the clarification extension of limitation under GST Law in terms of the Supreme Court’s Order dated April 27, 2021.
“We, therefore, restore the order dated 23rd March 2020 and in continuation of the order dated 8th March 2021 direct that the period(s) of limitation, as prescribed under any general or special laws in respect of all judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings, whether condonable or not, shall stand extended till further orders. It is further clarified that the period from 14th March 2021 till further orders shall also stand excluded in computing the periods prescribed under Sections 23 (4) and 29A of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, Section 12A of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015, and provisos (b) and (c) of Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 and any other laws, which prescribe period(s) of limitation for instituting proceedings, outer limits (within which the court or tribunal can condone delay) and termination of proceedings. We have passed this order in exercise of our powers under Article 142 read with Article 141 of the Constitution of India. Hence it shall be a binding order within the meaning of Article 141 on all Courts/Tribunals and Authorities,” the Supreme court order said.
The extension granted by the Supreme Court order applies only to quasi-judicial and judicial matters relating to petitions/ applications/ suits/ appeals/ all other proceedings. All other proceedings should be understood in the nature of the earlier used expressions but can be quasi-judicial proceedings. Hon’ble Supreme Court has stepped in to grant extensions only with reference to judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings in the nature of appeals/ suits/ petitions etc. and has not extended it to every action or proceeding under the CGST Act.
For the purpose of counting the period(s) of limitation for filing of appeals before any appellate authority under the GST Law, the limitation stands extended till further orders as ordered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Suo Motu Writ Petition (Civil) 3 of 2020 vide order dated 27th April 2021. Thus, as of date, the Orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court apply to appeals, reviews, revisions, etc., and not to original adjudication.
Various Orders and extensions passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court would apply only to acts and actions which are in nature of judicial, including the quasi-judicial exercise of power and discretion. Even under this category, the Hon’ble Supreme Court Order applies only to a lis that needs to be pursued within a time frame fixed by the respective statutes.
Wherever proceedings are pending, judicial or quasi-judicial which requires to be heard and disposed of, cannot come to a standstill by virtue of these extension orders. Those cases need to be adjudicated or disposed of off either physically or through the virtual model based on the prevailing policies and practices besides instructions if any.
The actions such as scrutiny of returns, issuance of summons, search, enquiry or investigations, and even consequential arrest in accordance with GST law would not be covered by the judgment of the Supreme Court.
As regards issuance of show cause notice, granting time for replies, and passing orders, the present Orders of the Supreme Court may not cover them even though they are quasi-judicial proceedings as the same has only been made applicable to matters relating to petitions/applications/suits, etc.
The CBIC has clarified that in case of proceedings that need to be initiated or compliances that need to be done by the taxpayers, these actions would continue to be governed only by the statutory mechanism and time limit provided/ extensions granted under the statute itself. Various Orders of the Supreme Court would not apply to the said proceedings/ compliances on part of the taxpayers.
The tax authorities can continue to hear and dispose of proceedings where they are performing the functions as a quasi-judicial authority. This may inter alia include disposal of application for a refund, application for revocation of cancellation of registration, adjudication proceedings of demand notices, etc.
Similarly, appeals that are filed and are pending can continue to be heard and disposed of and the same will be governed by those extensions of time granted by the statutes or notifications if any.
“Wherever any appeal is required to filed before Joint/ Additional Commissioner (Appeals), Commissioner (Appeals), Appellate Authority for Advance Ruling, Tribunal and various courts against any quasi-judicial order or where a proceeding for revision or rectification of any order is required to be undertaken, the timeline for the same would stand extended as per the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s order,” the CBIC added.
In other words, the extension of timelines granted by Hon’ble Supreme Court vide its Order dated 27.04.2021 is applicable in respect of any appeal which is required to be filed before Joint/ Additional Commissioner (Appeals), Commissioner (Appeals), Appellate Authority for Advance Ruling, Tribunal and various courts against any quasi-judicial order or where proceeding for revision or rectification of any order is required to be undertaken and is not applicable to any other proceedings under GST Laws.Subscribe Taxscan AdFree to view the Judgment