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Sabka Vishwas (Legacy Dispute Resolution) Scheme, 2019 must be interpreted liberally, to allow the businesses to make a fresh beginning: Delhi HC

Sabka Vishwas scheme - Taxscan

The Delhi High Court while setting aside the impugned order held that the Sabka Vishwas (Legacy Dispute Resolution) Scheme, 2019 must be interpreted liberally so as to allow the businesses to make a fresh beginning.

The petitioner, Vaishali Sharma filed the writ petition against the order passed by the respondent authority rejecting the declaration filed by the petitioner in Form SVLDRS-1 under the Sabka Vishwas (Legacy Dispute Resolution) Scheme, 2019.

The respondent authority rejected the declaration dated 29th December 2019 under the SVLDR Scheme on the sole ground that the demand was neither quantified nor communicated to the petitioner on or before 30th June 2019.

The petitioner contended that the impugned order is in violation of principles of natural justice inasmuch as respondents had neither issued any notice nor given any opportunity of hearing to the petitioner. He states that had the respondents given the personal hearing before rejecting the declaration, the petitioner would have justified her case.

The division bench of Justice Sanjeev Narula and Justice Manmohan held that a liberal interpretation has to be given to the Scheme as its intent is to unload the baggage relating to legacy disputes under the Central Excise and Service Tax and to allow the businesses to make a fresh beginning.

The bench was of the view that the respondents should have given an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner before rejecting the declaration dated 29th December 2019 under the Sabka Vishwas (Legacy Dispute Resolution) Scheme, 2019 as the petitioner had admitted her liability to pay service tax on 18th May 2018 itself.

“The impugned order dated 26th February 2020 is set aside and the designated committee is directed to decide the petitioner’s application after giving an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner. For this purpose, list the matter before the designated committee on 13th August 2020 at 11.00 A.M. A reasoned order, after giving an opportunity of hearing, shall be passed by the designated committee on or before 31st August 2020. All the rights and contentions of the parties are left open,” the bench said while disposing of the petition.

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