The Madras High Court has referred to the division bench the issue of the power of the high court under Article 226 to condone the delay beyond the maximum time limit stipulated under the GST Act.
The single bench of Justice Abdul Quddhose has observed that there were two contradictory views expressed by two judges of the Madras High Court.
The petitioners have challenged the cancellation of the respective GST registrations. The respondents have refused to entertain the appeal filed by the respective petitioners aggrieved by the cancellation of their respective GST registrations under section 107 of the GST Act on the ground that the appeals were filed beyond the maximum time limit stipulated under section 107 of the Act.
In some cases, the petitioners have directly challenged the cancellation order without preferring the statutory appeal prescribed under Section 107 of the GST Act. In other cases, they have challenged the orders passed by the Appellate Authority under Section 107 of the GST Act, by which the Appellate Authority has refused to entertain the appeals on the ground that the appeals were filed beyond the maximum time limit stipulated under Section 107 of the GST Act.
The issue raised was whether the court exercising powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is empowered to condone the delay beyond the maximum time limit stipulated under Section 107 of the GST Act.
While dealing with the issue, one of the single benches ofJustice Anita Sumanth, in her decision dated November 16, 2022, rendered in a batch of writ petitions in re Pandidorai Sethupathi Raja vs. The Superintendent of Central Tax, held that the Court has the power to condone the delay in filing the appeal under section 107 of the GST Act under certain extraordinary circumstances mentioned in the order.
However, Justice M. Sundar, by orders dated 07.12.2022 in the case of Hemasri Enterprises vs. the Appellate Authority/Deputy Commissioner and (b) by orders dated 02.01.2023 in the case of Ramunajan Venkatesan vs. the Joint Commissioner, has held that this Court, while exercising powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, does not have the power to condone the delay when the statutory appeal filed under Section 107 of the GST Act is beyond the maximum time limit.
"Registry is directed to immediately place this matter before My Lord, the Acting Chief Justice of this Court, for getting suitable orders for posting these writ petitions before the appropriate division bench nominated by him for an early hearing of these writ petitions," the court said.