The Bombay High Court has held that the limitation period would start only after the affixing of signatures on the GST registration cancellation order through the learned bench consisting of Justice K.R. Shriram and Justice A.S. Doctor in the case of Ramani Suchit Malushte Versus Union of India and Ors. (Writ Petition No. 9331 Of 2022)
FACTS OF THE CASE:
The petitioner/assessee challenged a judgement entered on August 2, 2021, but delivered on August 4, 2021, dismissing the petitioner’s appeal for failing to be lodged within the three-month window allowed by Section 107(1) of the CGST Act.
The initial ruling, dated November 14, 2019, that was included in the appeal submitted to the respondent, according to the petitioner, was not digitally signed. As a result, it was not given in line with CGST Rule 26. Therefore, the deadline for filing the appeal would not start until the orders had been made public with digital signatures.
When referring to the order in the original, dated November 14, 2019, there was no mention of any digital signature being added by the issuing authority, despite it being clearly stated in the affidavit in reply that the show cause notice was digitally signed by the issuing authority.
The department said that the petitioner could not claim that they did not obtain the signed copy because they had admittedly electronically received the unsigned order.
OBSERVATION OF THE COURT:
“Only on the date on which the signature of Respondent issuing authority was put on the order dated November 14, 2019, for the purpose of attestation, would time to file an appeal commence,”
The order will not be legally binding unless the issuing authority attaches a digital signature, the court noted.
The court pointed out that the regulations that specify that a digital signature must be used will become unnecessary if the department’s position is accepted.
The court reversed the ruling and returned the appeal to the respondent’s file, giving him instructions to evaluate the appeal on its merits and issue whatever order he thought fit under the law.
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Judgement reviewed by – Sudarshana Jha