Appellate Authority Cannot Condone Delay in Filing GST Appeal For More Than One Month Beyond Prescribed Period: Kerala High Court Dismisses Writ Petition
The High Court of Kerala has held that the appellate authority cannot condone the delay in filing Goods and Services Tax (GST) appeals for more than one month beyond the prescribed period of three months.
The decision came as the High Court dismissed the Writ Petition filed by M/S. Isha Holidays (P) Ltd., challenging an assessment order passed by the State Tax Officer (STO) for the tax period 2017-18.
The petitioner M/S. Isha Holidays (P) Ltd., represented by Sri V. C. Charly, contested the assessment order that imposed a total tax, interest and penalty of Rs.4,52,826.
The petitioner argued that the appellate authority should have the power to condone delays beyond one month, as they were prevented by sufficient cause from filing an appeal within three months. The petitioner had previously appealed the assessment order before the appellate authority under Section 107 of the GST Act, 2017. However, the appeal was dismissed by the appellate authority, primarily on the grounds of delay. The appellate authority cited that the appeal was filed 144 days late, far exceeding the prescribed one-month window for condoning delays under Sub-section (1) read with Sub-section (4) of Section 107 of the GST Act, 2017. T
The respondent revenue, represented by Smt. Reshmita Ramachandran argued that the petitioner’s appeal was filed 144 days beyond the prescribed three-month period for filing an appeal under the GST Act,2017.
The crux of the case revolved around whether the appellate authority had the power to extend the time frame for filing an appeal beyond the statutory three-month limit and whether they could condone delays beyond the initial one-month extension granted by law.
In the judgment, the single bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh stated, “The appeal has to be filed within a period of three months, and the appellate authority has the power to condone the delay by one month if the appellate authority is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from presenting the appeal within a period of three months”.
The bench found that there was no provision allowing the appellate authority to condone delays exceeding one month beyond the three-month deadline. Consequently, the High Court concluded that there were no grounds to entertain the writ petition and subsequently dismissed it.
The petitioner had contested the decision, but their counsel could not identify any provision vesting the appellate authority with the power to condone delays beyond the one-month grace period.
The bench highlighted the importance of adhering to statutory deadlines and the limitations on the power of appellate authorities to condone delays in filing GST appeals.