Kerala High Court Dismisses Writ Petition as Statutory Remedy of Appeal Available under KVAT Act [Read Order]

Kerala- High -Court - Writ- Petition - Statutory- Remedy - Appeal-Available - KVAT-Act-TAXSCAN

The High Court of Kerala has dismissed a writ petition challenging the assessment orders for the Assessment Years 2014-15 and 2016-17. The petitioner had sought relief under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, but the court held that the petition was “wholly misconceived” and “not maintainable” due to the availability of an efficacious statutory remedy of appeal under the Kerala Value Added Tax (KVAT) Act, 2003.

Hasbro Clothing Pvt. Ltd, a wholesale textile dealer represented by Sri. Ebin Babu, the authorised signatory, operates in M.G. Road, Ernakulam, Kochi.

The petitioner company had been subjected to assessment orders by the Deputy Commissioner of State Tax and the Joint Commissioner (Appeals) of the State Goods and Services Tax Department (SGST), Thrissur.

The assessment orders were challenged by the petitioner, alleging discrepancies and errors in the calculations and assessments under the KVAT and Central Sales Tax (CST) Acts.

Subsequently, the 2nd respondent, the Joint Commissioner (Appeals), SGST Department, Thrissur, set aside the original assessment orders and remanded the matter back to the Assessing Authority for a fresh review. The petitioner was specifically directed to produce the relevant documents necessary for the re-assessment.

The petitioner failed to produce the required documents as per the orders. Notices were issued to the petitioner to produce these documents, but the petitioner remained non-compliant.

In light of the petitioner’s failure to provide the necessary documentation, the Assessing Authority proceeded to pass fresh assessment orders, which are the subject of the writ petition.

The petitioner, dissatisfied with these orders, approached the Kerala High Court seeking relief through a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution.

The petitioner was represented by Lijo Varghese, K. N., Reekumaran and P. J. Anilkumar while the respondent revenue was represented by Rasmitha Ramachandran

The single bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh pointed out that the petitioner had an available statutory remedy of appeal under the KVAT Act before the appellate authority.

The bench emphasised that the petitioner had not exhausted this remedy and had prematurely approached the High Court. The bench described the writ petition as “wholly misconceived” and “not maintainable” in light of the existing legal recourse.

The bench further explained that the appropriate course of action for the petitioner should have been to file appeals before the Appellate Authority within a specific period.

It was also clarified that if the petitioner initiated the appeal process within fifteen days from the date of the judgment, the Appellate Authority would proceed to decide the appeals on their merits in accordance with the law.

The bench instructed that no coercive measures should be taken during this fifteen-day period in connection with the recovery notices issued to the petitioner.

The bench highlighted the importance of following established legal procedures and exhausting statutory remedies before seeking recourse in the higher judiciary.

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