6 March 2023 1:00 PM GMT
The Calcutta High Court upheld the penalty and stated that there was no requirement in law to verify the reason for transporting goods in a vehicle without a proper e-way bill.The bench of Justice Amrita Sinha has observed that the vehicle in which the goods stood transferred for being transported allegedly to the pre-recorded destination, did not have an e-way bill. The provision of Section...
The Calcutta High Court upheld the penalty and stated that there was no requirement in law to verify the reason for transporting goods in a vehicle without a proper e-way bill.
The bench of Justice Amrita Sinha has observed that the vehicle in which the goods stood transferred for being transported allegedly to the pre-recorded destination, did not have an e-way bill. The provision of Section 129 will be attracted.
The petitioner/assessee challenged the order passed by the adjudicating authority, which was subsequently affirmed by the appellate authority, imposing a penalty under Section 129(3) of the West Bengal Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.
The e-way bill was generated on June 10th, 2022, and it was valid until June 21st, 2022. The goods that were being transported against the e-way bill were intercepted from a different conveyance that was not mentioned in the e-way bill. On-demand, the person in charge of the goods and conveyance failed to produce any document in support of the said goods being transported by a different conveyance.
As there was a failure on the part of the person in charge to produce documents in support of the movement of the goods, the goods were seized and later released on payment of a penalty under Section 129(3) of the West Bengal Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.
The petitioner submitted that the vehicle in which the goods were originally loaded for transportation and the e-way bill was generated suffered a breakdown in the course of the journey. The person in charge had to arrange for a different conveyance for transporting the goods. The goods were electrical switches, which are manufactured as per the requirements of the Arunachal Pradesh government, and there is no scope for selling the said goods in the open market as there will be no buyers for the same.
The petitioner contended that had the initial vehicle not suffered a mechanical snag, the vehicle would have certainly reached the final destination within the validity period of the e-way bill. The breakdown was an unforeseen event, completely beyond the control of the petitioner. There was no intention to evade tax.
The respondent or department contended that the petitioner's conduct in transporting goods in a vehicle without a proper e-way bill is in contravention of the Act. At the time of interception, the vehicle was found to be loaded with goods without a proper e-way bill. It is prohibited by law, and the petitioner has rightly been imposed a penalty.
The court noted that, apart from the taxing purpose, the e-way bill is generated to identify the goods that are being transported, the place from where they are being transported, the final destination, and the vehicle number by which the goods will be transported. It implies that the goods cannot and ought not to be transferred from one vehicle to the other, much less transported via a different vehicle, without obtaining a proper e-way bill.
"The moment the goods are unloaded from the vehicle in respect of which an e-way bill was generated and loaded in a different vehicle without any e-way bill, a statutory breach is committed and is liable to be dealt with in accordance with the statute," the court said.
Case Title: Asian Switchgear Private Limited Versus State Tax Officer
Case No: WPA 340 of 2023
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 57
Counsel For Petitioner: Boudhayan Bhattacharyya, Stuti Bansal
Counsel For Respondent: Subir Kumar Saha, Bikramaditya Ghosh
Click Here To Read The Order