The Tripura High Court in the case of Progressive Enterprise vs The State Of Tripura And Others (WP (C) No.427 of 2022) upheld that e-way bills can either be amended or reissued for the selfsame consignment, but bona fide reasons for such change must be justified.
Facts of the case : A writ petition was filed by the petitioner, Progressive Enterprise, which was under contract with the private company under which the petitioner was transporting, installing and commissioning telecommunication materials throughout the State of Tripura. One such consignment containing 2(two) tax invoices, had been generated and 2(two) e-way bills against the said consignment. The consignment was being transported to Agartala from Guwahati and the said vehicle was transporting goods back to Guwahati. While the goods were being taken back from Tripura to Guwahati on a transport vehicle, the Inspector of State Taxes inspected the vehicle and asked the driver to produce relevant documents. The driver informed the Inspector that he is waiting for the fresh tax invoices and e-way bills for outward transportation of the telecommunication materials. He informed him that he had in his possession the e-way bill and the tax invoice under cover of which the goods had originally moved from Guwahati to Tripura.
The vehicle as well as the goods was seized and form 7 was issued. In the meanwhile, on the same date, Reliance Jio Infocommunication Ltd. generated 30(thirty) numbers of e-way bills for the purpose of outward transportation of the aforesaid goods which were seized. The issue involved was in spite of the new e-way bills provided by the driver-in-question, the authorities did not allow the goods to be moved and initiated proceedings against the petitioner.
Judgment : The court was of the view that once the driver of the vehicle produces a valid e-way bill, the authorities concerned are responsible to honor the same and if any fault is found therein, action can obviously be taken up under the statute. But in the case at hand, the vehicle-in-question and the driver concerned produced the e-way bill prior to seeking permission to leave the State of Tripura. It was obligatory on part of the statutory authorities to go through the same and if the same was found in order, to permit the transport of the machinery and/or consignment concerned.
The court held that Rule 138 (10) of the Central Goods and Services Tax Rules, 2017 which applied in the present case and in particular second proviso thereof conceivable situation where e-way bills can either be amended or reissued for the selfsame consignment, but bona fide reasons for such change must be justified. The only lawful inference therefrom was that the said Rule had been complied with by the petitioner consequent to which fresh e-way bills were issued and produced before the concerned authorities. The court found no justification in further detention of the goods at the check-post and directed to release the vehicle.
JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY : SHUBHANGI CHAUDHARY