Andhra Pradesh HC allows Petitioner to file TRAN-01, couldn’t submitted due to system glitches

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Facts:

Lantech Pharmaceuticals Limited (“Lantech” or “the Petitioner”) have filed a writ petition under Article 226 of the constitution of India to carry forward Input Tax Credit (“ITC”) of Rs. 4,01,14,416/- due to being unable to file TRAN-01 electronically on account of technical glitches.

Therefore, the Petitioner made a representation, dated December 29th, 2018, to the Principal Commissioner (“Respondent”) stating therein that at the time of transition period for GST, the Petitioner could not file TRAN-1 due to technical glitches and that the Accounts Officer, who tried to file the TRAN-1, suddenly left the organisation, without notice, and that, therefore, they are unable to produce the evidence for technical glitches that they faced and requesting to consider claim related to ITC, as on June 30th, 2017.

The Petitioner further submitted another letter, dated February 2nd, 2019, along with a copy of ER-1 for the month of June 2017. The Petitioner filed Writ Petition No 626 of 2019 before the same High Court to direct the Respondents either to reopen and reinstate the facility of online submission of FORM GST TRAN-1 to them or manually accept the hard copy of the same and allow carry forward of ITC.

By an order, dated January 29th, 2019, passed in the said writ petition, the Respondent was directed to verify the representation, dated December 29th, 2018, and take appropriate action or pass appropriate orders in strict accordance with law, however, as expeditiously as possible. By letter, dated February 8th, 2019, the Petitioner was informed that the Petitioner had not produced any evidence that the Petitioner was prevented from filing the TRAN-1 in time and, therefore, the matter could not be taken up for forwarding to IT Grievance Redressed Committee in view of the Boards Circular, dated April 3rd, 2018 in Circular No.39/13/2018-GST.

Further, according to the Respondent, as per recommendations of GST Council, the last date for filing of TRAN-1 was extended to December 27th, 2017 vide orders, dated November 15th , 2017, in Order No.09/2017-GST and 10/2017-GST and it was mentioned that the last date for submission of TRAN-1 and revised TRAN-1 was December 27th, 2017 and that later a press note, dated December 12th, 2017, was issued reiterating the fact that last date for filing TRAN-1 was December 27th, 2017. It is also the submission of the Respondent that the orders were made available in the official common portal and that after 23rd GST Council meeting, on November 10th, 2017, the order of time limit was issued on November 15th, 2017; and hence, the Accounts Officer of the Petitioner should have immediately made alternative arrangements for filing TRAN-1 on or before December 27th, 2017; but, the Petitioner failed so to do and that in that view of the matter and as the Petitioner has not produced any evidence regarding filing TRAN-1 on or before December 27th, 2017, the Department has not considered the representation, dated December 29th, 2018, as a technical problem; and, the same is also intimated to the Petitioner on February 8th, 2019.

Thus, on one hand, the Petitioner submits that it could not file Form GST TRAN -1 electronically due to technical glitches and on the other, the Respondents contend that the Petitioner was lax and did not avail the extended time and that there was no indication on record to show that the Petitioner made an attempt to file Form GST TRAN-1 or bring the issue to the notice of the department or GSTN before the last date of filing of Form GST TRAN-1, that is, December 27th, 2017.

Learned counsel for the Petitioner, contended that several other dealers also were unable to connect to the system on account of network & other failures and that such situation is recognized by various High Courts, therefore, the Petitioner’s request merits consideration.

Per contra, learned standing counsel forcefully contended that the Petitioner is not entitled to the relief in the light of the submissions of the department and because of the Petitioner’s failure to produce evidence like screenshot to show that the Petitioner made an attempt to file Form GST TRAN-1 before the last date of filing of the same and the Petitioner’s further failure to bring the issue to the notice of the department within a reasonable time.

Issue involved:

Whether the Petitioner’s request can be considered now to file form GST TRAN-01?

Held:

The Hon’ble Andhra Pradesh High Court has passed the following order in the matter of WP. No. 3298 of 2019 dated August 13th, 2019:

  • It is beneficial to refer to the decision of the High Court of Delhi in Uninav Developers (P.) Ltd. Union of India [W.P. (C) No. 13772 of 2018, dated 29-7-2019]; In the afore-stated decision, while dealing with an identical issue, the Delhi High Court referred to the precedents and held as follows: –
  • As observed by this Court in several orders e., in Kusum Enterprises (P.) Ltd. v. Union of India [WP(C) 7423 of 2019, dated 12-7-2019] and Sanko Gosei Technology India (P.) Ltd. v. Union of India [WP(C) 7335 of 2019, dated 12-7-2019], the entire GST system is still in a trial and error phase and it will be too much of a burden to place on the Assessee to expect them to comply with the requirement of the law where they are unable to even connect to the system on account of network failures or other failures. Eventually, the Delhi High Court granted the relief to the Petitioner therein.

Conclusively the Hon’ble HC allowed the petition and directed the Respondents to either open the Portal to enable the Petitioner to again file the Form GST TRAN-1 electronically or in the alternative accept the Form GST TRAN-1 presented manually, on or before August 31st, 2019.