The Gujarat High Court said that the time period to file an appeal would start only when the order is uploaded on the GST portal.
The petitioner, Gujarat State Petronet Limited is an undertaking of the Government of Gujarat incorporated under the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956 and is engaged in the transportation of gas through pipeline, who is registered under the provisions of the Central Goods and Service Tax Act, 2017.
The petitioner had filed a refund application on 21st March, 2018 for claiming the refund of Integrated Goods and Service Tax (IGST) amounting to Rs.2,66,55,266 paid on supplies made to the Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
The petitioner that the adjudicating authority advised the petitioner to file a fresh refund application and generate a fresh application reference number, however, the petitioner could not do so as the GST portal does not allow the filing of a refund application for the same month twice when the reason for a refund is same and particularly when the first refund application is not closed.
The petitioner without receiving the electronic order filed a manual copy of the appeal on 27th February, 2019 before the respondent authority against the refund order dated 2nd August, 2018.
Subsequently, the petitioner was invited for the personal hearing on 28th March 2019 and was asked to submit a copy of the grievance that was lodged earlier in relation to the subject matter of the appeal. The petitioner accordingly vide letter dated 29th March, 2019 submitted the details of grievances lodged.
The respondent authority passed the order on 1st May, 2019 rejecting the appeal filed by the petitioner on the ground of the appeal being time barred.
The issue raised in this case was whether the appellate authority was justified in rejecting the appeal on the ground of limitation or not.
The division judge bench of Justice J.B. Pardiwala and Justice Bhargav D. Karia held that though the physical copy of the adjudication order was handed over to the petitioner, the time period to file appeal would start only when the order is uploaded on the GST portal.
“Without the order being uploaded, the petitioner could not file the appeal and therefore, the contention raised on behalf of the respondents that the uploading of the order and filing of the appeal are two different processes, is not tenable in law,” the court while remitting the matter back to the respondent authority said.
The court, while quashing the order of the respondent authority held that merely because the petitioner has filed the appeal manually after exhausting all the efforts to ensure filing of the appeal in a proper and legal manner, the impugned order rejecting such appeal on the ground of limitation is not sustainable as the petitioner cannot be penalized for lack of clarity of the provision when the new law is enacted.Subscribe Taxscan AdFree to view the Judgment