The Uttarakhand High Court has held that the amount paid under protest, towards interest, prior to the issuance of show cause shall be considered as pre-deposit while disposing of the application for a waiver under the 'Sabka Vikas (Legacy Dispute Resolution) Scheme, 2019' (SVLDR Scheme).
The single bench of Justice Sanjaya Kumar Mishra has observed that the statute does not make any distinction between the payment of taxes, interest thereon, or any penalty in the amount which has been deposited during enquiry, investigation, or audit shall be deducted while issuing the statement and shall be adjusted while calculating relief to the declarant.
The petitioner/assessee submitted that Form SVLDRS must be quashed. The petitioner sought the direction for the respondents/department to issue a fresh Form No. 3 and adjust the amount towards the deposit already made.
The petitioner has sought an advance ruling on the issue of whether the amount paid under protest, towards interest, prior to the issuance of show cause shall be considered as a pre-deposit while disposing of the application for a waiver under the SVLDR Scheme.
The department contended that there were some technical issues that Forms 1, 2, and 3 were issued and auto-populated with a life span of 30 days and by the time the stay order was granted, 30 days were over. Therefore, relief to the petitioner cannot be granted.
Section 124(2) of the Finance Act, 2019 states the relief calculated shall be subject to the condition that any amount paid as pre-deposit at any stage of appeal proceedings under the indirect tax enactment or as a deposit during enquiry, investigation, or audit shall be deducted when issuing the statement indicating the amount payable by the declarant.
The court observed that section 124 of the Finance Act, 2019, is a benevolent provision. In its wise discretion, Parliament thought it appropriate to grant one-time relief to all taxpayers under the GST Scheme so that disputes can be resolved amicably and restrictive parochial interpretation of the provisions should be avoided by the Courts and also by the Authorities so that the beneficial scheme's objectives can be achieved.
"Even though it was informed that the scheme had already come to its conclusion and the auto-populated form had already expired, the Court is inclined to allow the writ petition," the order read.
The court ordered the cancellation of Form SVLDRS-3 and ordered the Designated Committed to reconsider the petitioner's claim within three weeks after adjusting the amount paid towards interest to be specific Rs. 3,19,69,680 in accordance with the law.
The court directed the petitioner to make the payments, if any, within three weeks from the date the Designated Committee issues SVLDRS-3.
Case Title: Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. Versus Commissioner of Central Excise & Service Tax
Case No: Writ Petition No. 964 of 2020 (M/S)
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Utt) 36
Counsel For Petitioner: Advocate Priyadarshi Manish
Counsel For Respondent: Advocate Shobhit Saharia