The Bombay High Court urged the Tax Department for Implementation of Sabka Vishwas scheme to tackle pre-GST litigation.
The petitioner is engaged in providing construction services of commercial or industrial buildings and civil structures, other than residential complexes. In the month of February 2019, an enquiry for investigation was narrated by the Directorate General of GST Intelligence, Mumbai. During the course of the statement, the Director of the petitioner declared and admitted the total tax liability. A portion of the said amount was subsequently confirmed in the show-cause notice.
The petitioner paid an amount of Rs.30 lakhs prior to the recording of the said statement and Rs.60 lakhs after recording the said statement in two installments. As per the Scheme, the petitioner was required to pay an amount of Rs.64,44,270/- against which the petitioner had already paid a sum of Rs.90 lakhs i.e. sum of Rs.25,55,729/- in the excess of the final amount payable by the petitioner which amount is non-refundable under the Scheme.
Advocate Abhishek A. Rastogi, appearing for the petitioner, contended that under Section 125 of the said Scheme, the petitioner was eligible to make a Declaration. He relied upon Section 125(1)(e) of the said Scheme and would submit that the amount of duty involved had been already quantified in this case on or before 30th June, 2019.
Advocate Jetly, appearing for the respondents, contended that the petitioner was clearly informed that the investigation was still going on and the respondents were yet to quantify the tax liability, thus the amount admitted in the statement cannot be said to be final.
The division bench of Justice S. M. Modak and Justice R. D. Dhanuka noted that the admission of the petitioner of net service tax liability of Rs.40 to Rs.45 lakhs broadly corresponds to the figure disclosed by the petitioner in the Declaration.
The court stated that the view taken by the respondents is not only contrary to various principles of law laid down by the Court in catena of decisions referred but also contrary to the objects and reasons and the intent of the Central Government in introducing the said scheme for the benefit of the assessee and to bring them out of litigation forever pending under pre-GST regime.
The court quashed and set aside the impugned order passed by the Designated Committee-I communicated through email thereby rejecting SVLDRS-I Declaration, of 2019 filed by the petitioner.
The court remanded back the matter to the Designated Committee to consider the said Declaration filed by the petitioner in terms of the scheme as valid Declaration under the category “investigation, enquiry and audit” and grant consequential reliefs to the petitioner after providing due opportunity of hearing to the petitioner before finally deciding the issue.
Case title: Nabeel Construction Pvt. Ltd. v/s Union of India and Ors.
Citation: WRIT PETITION NO. 96 OF 2022