notice returned with postal endorsements “not known” or “abolished” not deemed served –HC

GST notice returned with postal endorsements as “not known” and “abolished” by no means suggest that there is any deemed service –High Court

ABCAUS Case Law Citation:
ABCAUS 2792 (2019) (02) HC

The petitioner was a trader and was registered with the State VAT Department. The Petitioner closed his business way back and informed the VAT Department which cancelled the petitioner’s registration.

The State BAT/GST authorities initiated proceedings to assess the petitioner and claimed to have sent notices to both his business and residential addresses. As the petitioner did not respond, the assessing authority passed impugned orders.

The petitioner contended that he had never received any notice from the authorities to the business address. He contended that his business was wound up long back, and therefore the question of the authorities’ sending a notice to business address served no purpose.

Besides that, it was submitted that with respect to the notices claimed to have sent to his residential address, the postal endorsements clearly did not amount to due service.

Thus, it was contended that the assessment orders were passed without notice to the petitioner and it goes to the root of the adjudicatory propriety, i.e. the principles of natural justice stood violated.

The Department on the other hand, contended that the petitioner had been put on notice. According to it, once the Department sends notice to the last known address and that address is found to have been correct, the Department’s role ceases. Therefore, it was submitted that there had been due service of notice and, therefore the orders do not suffer from any legal infirmity, much less that of violating the principles of natural justice.

The Hon’ble High Court observed that as rightly contended by the petitioner, admittedly, the business stood closed way back so the authority’s sending a notice to his business address actually served no purpose.

Besides, the Hon’ble High Court noted that about the petitioner’s residential address, the postal endorsements on both occasions were marked as “not known” and “abolished.”

The Hon’ble High Court opined that even in terms of the General Clauses Act, once intimation was left with the addressee and still he would not make efforts to get the notice served, it would amount to due service. But the endorsement in the instant case that was “not known” and “abolished”—would by no means suggested that there was any deemed service.

According, the Hon’ble High Court set aside the impugned orders and remanded the matter to the authorities concerned for fresh adjudication.

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