The High Court of Allahabad has reaffirmed that the GST dept. should release the seized goods after the security of the equivalent amount is furnished.
Facts of the case:
The petitioner, M/S Skipper Limited was required to furnish a bank guarantee equivalent to the amount of his liability determined under Section 129 of the Uttar Pradesh Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 at the time of the seizure of goods and conveyance in transit. The seized vehicle and goods have been released on the strength of such security deposit.
Interpretation of law :
While relying on the decision of the Supreme Court and the legislative intent, the high court observed, “the legislative intent is to secure revenue interests and equally to ensure the expeditious release of the seized goods and conveyances. This procedure is distinct from the adjudicatory process of determination of tax liability. The scheme of Section 129 of the Uttar Pradesh Goods and Service Tax (UPGST) Act, 2017 thus achieves the purpose of keeping trade and commercial transactions unhindered by the adjudicatory process for determination of tax liability, while at the same time protecting revenue interests and allowing the adjudicatory mechanism to run its course independently.”
The division bench consisting of Justice Biswanath Somadder and Justice Ajay Bhanot directed the revenue authority to adjudicate the case on merits, expeditiously, preferably, within a period of three months from the date of receipt of a certified copy of this order.
“The bank guarantee furnished by the petitioner (assessee) to the State Revenue Authorities shall remain with the State Revenue Authorities and its invocation shall be subject to the result of the adjudication,” the division bench said.
“The notice under Section 129(3) of the UPGST Act, 2017 is infructuous and the proceedings taken thereunder are liable to be treated as concluded,” the Court observed.