The Supreme Court ruled that Non-extension of e-way bill does not automatically amount to GST Evasion, especially when the non-delivery of goods within the validity period of e-way bill due to traffic blockage.
The petitioners contended that the questions of law in the case, as regards the operation and effect of Section 129 of Telangana Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 and violation by the writ petitioner, may be kept open.
The division bench of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Hrishikesh Roy found no reason to consider interference in the well-considered and well-reasoned order passed by the High Court for the State of Telangana at Hyderabad.
The court said that the error, if any, on the part of the High Court, had been of imposing only nominal costs of Rs. 10,000/- on the respondent of the writ petition.
The court observed that the consideration of the High court in the order impugned and the material placed on record left nothing to doubt that the attempted inference on the part of petitioner, that the writ petitioner was evading tax because the e-way bill had expired a day earlier, had not only been baseless but even the intent behind the proceedings against the writ petitioner was also questionable, particularly when it was found that the goods in question, after being detained were, strangely, kept in the house of a relative of the petitioner for 16 days and not at any other designated place for their safe custody.
The court noted that the High Court has meticulously examined and correctly found that no fault or intent to evade tax could have been inferred against the writ petitioner.
The court stated that there was no intent on the part of the writ petitioner to evade tax and rather, the goods in question could not be taken to the destination within time for reasons beyond the control of the writ petitioner. When the undeniable facts, including the traffic blockage due to agitation, are taken into consideration, the State alone remains responsible for not providing smooth passage of traffic.
The court having found no question of law being involved; and having found the petition itself being rather misconceived, was constrained to enhance the amount of costs imposed in the matter by the High Court.
The court imposed a further sum of Rs. 59,000/- on the petitioners toward costs, which should be payable to the writ petitioner within four weeks.
Case title: Assistant Commissioner (st) & Ors. v/s M/S Satyam Shivam Papers Pvt. Limited & Anr.
Citation: Special Leave to Appeal (C) No(s). 21132/2021