GST is not Taxpayer-Friendly: Bombay HC directs Govt to Fix Technical Glitches in GSTN Soon [Read Order]

GST Technical Gliches

While hearing a petition filed by M/s Abicor and Binzel Technoweld Pvt. Ltd, a two-judge bench of the Bombay High Court asked the Government to resolve the technical glitches in the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) soon.

Petitioner, a Company engaged in manufacturing of robotic and automation equipment was granted a provisional registration number under the Goods and Services Tax law. Before the High Court, the petitioner contended that it is not able to access its online profile on the Goods and Service Tax Network.

The petitioner submitted that it is the respondents who have decided to put in place an automated and electronic system of accepting tax returns based on self-assessment. They said that Electronic Way Bills Rules have yet to be implemented and therefore, without access to the online profile, the petitioner cannot generate E-way bills.

The counsels for the petitioner said that lack of access would mean that the petitioner is unable to file return or pay tax or undertake any other compliance required by the statute. Such lack of access to the online profile also inhibits the petitioner from securing the final registration number. In the absence thereof, the petitioner is exposed to interest liability and may have to face even penal consequences. Importantly, the petitioner as well as its customers is unable to avail input tax credit mechanism, they argued.

Allowing the petition, a division bench comprising Justices S.C Dharmadhikari and Bharati H. Dangre opined that though the much-celebrated GST regime is not assessee-friendly.

The bench said that “We do not think that these are satisfactory state of affairs. A tax like Goods and Services Tax was highly publicized and termed as popular.”

“We had yet not seen a celebration of New Tax regime, but that has followed with great hue and cry. These celebrations mean nothing. The special sessions of Parliament or special or extraordinary meetings of Council would mean nothing to the assessees unless they obtain easy access to the website and portals.”

“The regime is not tax friendly. We hope and trust that those in charge of implementation and administration of this law will at least now wake up and put in place the requisite mechanism. This is necessary to preserve the image, prestige and reputation of this country, particularly when we are inviting and welcoming foreign investment in the State and the country. We hope and trust that such petitions are rarity and the Court will not be called upon to administer the implementation of the law, leave alone monitoring and supervising the working of the individual officials, howsoever high ranking he may be,” the bench said.

Before concluding, the bench added that “We would record that similar grievances have been raised before the Allahabad High court in Writ (Tax) No. 67 of 2018 and the order of the Division Bench of that Court dated 24th January 2018 directs the respondents before it to reopen the portal and in the event it is not done, there is further direction to entertain the application of the petitioner before the Allahabad High Court manually and pass orders on it after due verification of the credits as claimed by the petitioner before the Allahabad High Court. We would also be constrained to pass such order and that would not be restricted to the petitioner before us alone.”

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