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Court is not prevented from interfering if the order is defective in law as it is a violation of natural justice norms: Patna High Court

Despite the statutory remedy, this Court is not prevented from interfering if, ex facie, obtain the opinion that the order is defective in law as it is a violation of natural justice norms, such as the right to a fair hearing is upheld by the High Court of Patna through the learned bench led by HONOURABLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE and HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE S. KUMAR in the case of National Insuranc Co Ltd Vs. The State of Bihar (Civil Writ Jurisdiction Case No.42 of 2022)

Brief facts of the case are that the petitioner has requested for the issuance of a writ of certiorari to overturn an appellate order dated 13.11.2021 passed by the respondent and issued via memo in Appeal Case, in which the petitioner’s appeal against the respondent’s order dated 24.02.2021 was dismissed without consideration of the factual and legal issues contended and raised by the petitioner in appeal. The petitioner has asked for the issuance of a writ in the nature of certiorari to quashing the respondent’s order dated 24.02.2021 passed under Section 73 of the Bihar Goods And Services Tax Act, 2017 read with the Central Goods And Services Tax Act, 2017, as well as a holding and declaration that the impugned order dated 24.02.2021 passed by the respondent is an erroneous exercise of jurisdiction by the respond. During the pendency of the instant writ application or thereafter jurisdiction by the respondent, the petitioner has requested the issuance of a writ or order or direction restraining the respondents from taking any coercive action against the petitioner in terms of section 79 of the Bihar Act 2017 read with the Central Act, 2017 for recovery of the amount in demand in terms of the impugned order of assessment dated 24.02.2021 passed by the respondent during the pendency.

Court noticed that, pursuant to the impugned order dated 13.11.2021 issued by the Respondent, namely the Additional Commissioner of State Taxes (Appeal), Central Division, Patna in Appeal Case, the petitioner’s appeal against the order dated 24.02.2021 issued by the Respondent, namely the Assistant Commissioner of State Taxes, Patliputra Circle, Patna, has been dismissed, allegedly without appreciating the factual and legal. The Revenue’s learned counsel says he has no objection to the case being remanded to the Assessing Authority to be decided again. In addition, the matter will be decided on its merits. Furthermore, no coercive measures against the petitioner may be done while the case is pending.

The parties’ learned counsel, after reviewing the record, are of the considered opinion that, despite the statutory remedy, this Court is not prevented from interfering if, ex facie, and obtain the opinion that the order is defective in law as (a) it is a violation of natural justice norms, such as the right to a fair hearing. The petitioner was not given enough time to plead his case; and (b) the order, which was issued ex parte, does not identify any sufficient grounds, even if decipherable from the record, as to how the officer arrived at the sum owing and payable by the assessee.

The order, which was issued ex parte and in breach of natural justice principles, has civil ramifications. As a result, we dismiss the present writ petition on this single ground, quashing and setting aside the impugned order dated 13.11.2021 issued by the Respondent, Additional Commissioner of State Taxes (Appeal), Central Division, Patna in Appeal Case, as well as the order dated 24.02.2021 issued by the Respondent, namely the Assistant Commissioner of State Taxes, Patliputra Circle, Patna. The petitioner’s declaration that 10% of the total money is already deposited, which is a condition precedent to hearing the appeal, is correct. However, if the sum is not deposited for whatever reason(s), it must be done before the next date, and the court must order the de-freezing/de-attachment of the writ-bank petitioner’s account(s), if attached in reference to the proceedings, to be done immediately.

Petitioner shall appear before the Assessing Officer on the 7th of February, 2022 at 10:30 a.m., before which date he shall fully comply with the provisions of law, and The Assessing Authority shall decide the case on the merits after adhering to the principles of natural justice, and Opportunity to place on record all essential documents and materials, if so required and desired, shall be afforded to the parties. During the pendency of the case, no coercive measures against the petitioner shall be taken, and The Assessing Authority shall pass a new order only after providing adequate opportunity to all parties involved, including the writ petitioner, and The Assessing Authority shall decide the case on the merits expeditiously, preferably within two months of the petitioner’s appearance, and The Assessing Authority shall pass a speaking order assigning reasons, copy of which shall be sent to the petitioner. The instant petition and Interlocutory Application sands disposed of and when a petitioner seeks such remedies as are ordinarily available in law before the appropriate venue, the matter will be handled in conformity with the law and in a timely manner.

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Judgement reviewed by – Pooja Lakshmi

 

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