Sunday, June 23, 2024

Patna High Court sets aside order of Appellate Authority under Bihar Goods and Services Tax Act

Patna High Court set aside an order of the Appellate Authority under Bihar Goods and Services Tax Act and restored the appeal before the Appellate Authority on June 19, 2024 in Aastha Traders Vs. State of Bihar (2024). It drew on its own judgement in Purushottam Stores Vs. State of Bihar decided on April  25, 2023. 

The Court looked at the provisions of the sub-sections (8), (9), (10), (11) and (12) of Section 107 of the Bihar Goods and Services Tax Act to observe that "the Appellate Authority has a duty and an obligation under the statute to look into the merits of the matter and also examine the grounds raised by the appellant, even if there is no presence recorded of the appellant before the Appellate Authority and decide the issue on merits. The Appellate Authority by dismissing the appeal for non-prosecution would be abdicating its powers especially looking at the provisions where the Appellate Authority has been empowered to conduct such further enquiry as found necessary to decide the appeal, which decision also shall be on the points raised."

The petitioner had challenged the appellate order which dismissed the appeal for non-prosecution. The appeal was filed in time but the appellate authority merely for the reason of the absence of the petitioner or the authorised representative, had rejected the appeal.

 The Court's direction reads: "The petitioner shall appear before the Appellate Authority on 15.07.2023. The Appellate Authority or its office shall fix a date of hearing on the said date, with due acknowledgment taken from the appellant; if the date of hearing is issued from the office, proceed with the hearing on the date fixed and dispose of the appeal on merits within three months from the date of last hearing. We also direct the petitioner to cooperate in the hearing of the appeal and even if there is absence of the appellant or his authorized representative on the date of hearing, the Appellate Authority shall consider the appeal on merits and pass a speaking order."


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