Seizure of goods for inadvertent mistake in two digits of truck number in e way bill was nothing but harassment of dealer. The High Court directed release of goods
ABCAUS Case Law Citation:
ABCAUS 2542 (2018) 09 HC
The Petitioner had filed a writ petition with prayer to quash the notice passed by the GST Officials and further to release the goods and the vehicle.
In the instant case, the proceedings under Section 129 of the CGST Act read with Section 20 of the IGST Act were initiated while the goods were meant to be delivered at the purchaser in other State. The Mobile Squad Authority had detained the truck and goods immediately after it proceeded from the business place of the petitioner and initiated the seizure proceeding and passed the seizure order.
The alleged ground for seizing the goods was that in the invoice, E-way bill and weigh slip the Truck number was mentioned being 7983 instead of 7938. In other words, the last two numerals of the trick registration number was interchanged by inadvertent mistake.
The petitioners relied upon the Circular No. 64/34/2018-GST dated 14.09.2018 issued by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs which clearly indicates in Clause 5 that the proceedings under Section 129 of the CGST Act may not be initiated, inter alia, in the situation which are mentioned in the said circular.
The petitioner placed reliance on Clause 5(f) of the said circular which provides that in the event on error in one or two digits/characters of the vehicle number the proceedings under Section 129 of the CGST Act may not be initiated.
The petitioner contended that the said mistake was due to inadvertent human error by the person who has prepared the documents including E-way bill, as the vehicle no. was mentioned by him what he had noticed in the tax invoice and further that he had mentioned the same in all other papers/documents subsequent to issuance of invoice.
Seizure of goods for mistake in truck number digits in e-way bill is harassment
The Hon’ble High Court opined that the goods in question were seized by the Mobile Squad on totally frivolous grounds.
The Hon’ble High Court was surprised to observe that neither the mobile squad authority nor the appellate authority appreciated the claim of the petitioner that it was due to mistake or human error the vehicle number (particularly last two digits) are mentioned different which in the instant case are 83 in place of 38.
The Hon’ble High Court expressed its displeasure with the conduct of the authorities and regarded it nothing but a clear cut case of harassment of the petitioner/dealer.
The Hon’ble High Court directed that the goods and vehicle be released forthwith and since the petitioner was a registered dealer, therefore, in the interest of justice, the Court directed the petitioner to furnish the indemnity bond to the extent of the amount of penalty asked/demanded.