Bombay HC set aside rejection Form SVLDRS-1 as no Personal Hearing was Accorded

The Bombay High Court in the case of Sunil Jay Prakash Singh v/s Union Of India and Ors. set aside the rejection Form SVLDRS-1 as no personal hearing was accorded.   

The Respondent had quantified the amount of service tax payable by the Petitioner for the year 2013-2014 by a letter/email. By another letter/email, the Respondent quantified the amount of service tax payable. The Respondent called upon the Petitioner to submit documents by the said letters/emails. It is the case of the Petitioner that the Petitioner sought time to submit the required documents. On 27th May 2019 the Petitioner submitted the required documents.

The Petitioner also quantified the amount for the financial year 2015 – 2016 and 2016 – 2017. The Central Government introduced Sabka Vishwas (Legacy Dispute Resolution) Scheme, 2019.  The Petitioner filed the electronic declarations in Form No. SVLDRS-1 for the period of 2015-2016, 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 (upto June 2017). The Petitioner declared various amounts as amount of tax due for the said period. 

Mr. Raichandani, counsel for the Petitioner pressed on the applications made by the Petitioner and the Orders passed by the Respondent and more specifically the contention of the Respondent that “the Petitioner was not eligible to file the declaration under SVLDR Scheme, 2019 and thus question of granting any personal hearing is not warranted in the present case” and submits that the said contention is totally erroneous and contrary to the law laid down by this Court in catena of decisions.

Mr.Bangur, counsel for Respondent contended that the Respondent had issued a show cause notice in the month of September 2020 to the Petition, indicating beyond reasonable doubt that the tax liability was not quantified 2019. He further contended that Petitioner was thus ineligible to make any application under the said Scheme. He submitted that no purpose would have been served by granting any personal hearing to the Petitioner in the circumstances.

The division bench of Justice S. M. Modak and Justice R. D. Dhanuka noted that the tax liability was already quantified as recorded in various paragraphs of the Petition. In the Affidavit In-Reply filed by the Respondents, these averments are not controverted by the Respondents.

The court while quashing and setting-aside the impugned Orders passed by the Respondents held that they are in gross violation of the principles of natural justice and ordered that:

Firstly, the impugned Orders rejecting the applications filed by the Petitioner annexed at Exh.A are quashed and set aside and restored both the applications filed by the Petitioner in Form SVLDRS 1.

Secondly, if the order that would be passed by the Respondent goes adverse against the Petitioner, no coercive steps shall be taken against the Petitioner by the Respondents for a period of two weeks from the date of communication of that Order. 

Click Here To Read Original Order/Judgement

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