Calcutta High Court: – Carrying of Soft copy of Invoice is not valid physical copy of Invoice is mandatory.
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CALCUTTA HIGH COURT
IN THE CIRCUIT BENCH AT JALPAIGURI
WPA 3415 OF 2022
J.K. Jain Buildtech India Pvt. Ltd.
Assistant Commissioner, Revenue Bureau of Investigation
North Bengal Head Quarter Siliguri & Ors.
The principal ground on which the petitioner was defeated before the appellate authority was that the petitioner could not produce the relevant invoices in physical form.
Mr. Sandip Choraria, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner referring to Rule 138A of the Central Goods and Services Tax Rules, 2017 (for short the 2017 Rules) submitted that, sub-Rule (1)(a) to the said Rule 138A of the said 2017 Rules does not provide for production of the relevant invoice in physical form and whenever a person-in-charge of the conveyance carries the same, even in a electronic/digital form or in his mobile or in such devices carried by him, the same would suffice and the authority could not have claimed for production of the invoice in physical form. He further referring to the said sub-Rule (1)(b) submitted that, insofar as the e-way bill was concerned, the legislature while legislating the rule thought it fit to use the expression “physical form” as a mandatory pre-requisite, whereas insofar as the invoice was concerned, no such expression was used and as such, he submitted that, the invoice was not required to be produced in physical form in the event the same is produced dititally.
Mr. Bikramaditya Ghosh, learned counsel appearing for the respondents, submitted that from a reading of the provision laid down under sub-Rule 138A, it would be evident that, the person-incharge of the conveyance/vehicle should carry the invoice also in physical form for verification by the respondent authority, if required. Since in the instant case, the person-in-charge of the concerned conveyance was not carrying the invoice in physical form, the appeal was rightly rejected.
Considering the rival submissions of the parties and considering the materials on record, at the outset, this Court for the proper appreciation of the issue involved in this writ petition thinks it fit to quote the relevant provision
“Documents and devices to be carried by a person-in-charge of a conveyance.
138A. (1) The person-in-charge of a conveyance shall carry-
- (a) the invoice or bill of supply or delivery challan, as the case may be; and
- (b) a copy of the e-way bill in physical form or the e-way bill number in electronic form or map to a Radio Frequency Identification Device embedded on to the conveyance in such manner as may be notified by the Commissioner:
From a plain reading of the said provision, it appeared to this Court that, the expression used in the heading of the Rule 138A is clear that “ documents and devices to be carried by a person-in-charge of the conveyance” which included under sub-Rule (1)(a), the invoice.
It is trite that the provision in a taxing statute has to be construed strictly and no benevolent interpretation is available while construing taxing statute.
When the said provision specifically provided for that documents and devices to be carried by the person-in-charge of a conveyance including the invoice, this clearly means that the invoice has to be carried in physical form and if required shall be produced in its physical form.
Considering the issue involved in this writ petition, this Court is of the firm opinion that an opportunity may be given to the petitioner to produce the relevant invoice/invoices before the statutory appellate authority, i.e., the respondent no.2 before taking a final decision on the issue to subserve justice to the petitioner also.
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