An unsigned order is illegal; cannot be saved by taking recourse to s.160, 169 of the Act, 2017: AP HC

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An unsigned order is illegal; cannot be saved by taking recourse to s.160, 169 of the Act, 2017: AP HC

 

SRK ENTERPRISES

Issue : Two grounds are raised viz. that the impugned order is unsigned and is no order in the eyes of law inasmuch as it cannot be enforced; that the order has been passed on the ground that upon verification of the bank statement it was found that they received payment of Rs.93,62,630/- from AP Mineral Development Corporation Ltd. in FY 2020-2021 but the same was not reflected in their GSTR-3B return; however, the said ground is not mentioned in the SCN.

Ruling : Section 160 [Assessment proceedings, etc. not to be invalid on certain grounds] of CGST Act, 2017 is not attracted – An unsigned order cannot be covered under “any mistake, defect or omission therein” as used in Section 160 – These expressions would not cover omission to sign the order –

Unsigned order is no order in the eyes of law – Merely uploading of the unsigned order, may be by the Authority competent to pass the order, would, in view of the Bench, not cure the defect which goes to the very root of the matter i.e. validity of the order –

Section 169 [Service of notice in certain circumstances] of CGST Act 2017 is also not attracted – A Co-ordinate Bench of this Court [in the case of  A. V. Bhanoji Row vs. Assistant Commissioner (ST) in W.P. No. 2830 of 2023 decided on 14.02.2023] has held that the signatures cannot be dispensed with and the provisions of Sections 160 and 169 of CGST Act would not come to the rescue –

Writ petition deserves to be allowed on the first ground itself – The impugned order is set aside with direction to the Competent Authority to pass fresh order in accordance with law considering the petitioner’s reply already filed as also the additional reply, if so filed.

 

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