Facts: Kandla Port Trust (Deendayal Port Trust) “DPT”, set up under the Major Port Trust Act, 1963, has submitted that it owns substantial amount of land at Gandhidham and Adipur location of Kutch District, which has been given on lease to various commercial and other organization for long time period, for which it had entered into lease agreements with various lessees long ago. It is submitted that the applicant revised rate of lease as per directions of Tariff Authority of Major Port, however, many lease holders have challenged the revised rate taking plea that it is against the terms of lease agreement. It is further submitted that some of the lessees are Government of India undertaking and the matter is under litigation at various jurisdictional level. It is also submitted that the applicant is paying GST as per invoices (revised rate) issued out of pocket, though no payment of lease rent and GST is being made by lease holders for disputed amount.
Issue Involved: The applicant has sought for the following questions for advance ruling :-
(i) Whether DPT shall continue to pay GST on disputed claim?
(ii) How is it possible for DPT to claim refund for GST paid out of pocket, if the matter / dispute concluded in favour of party / lease holder, considering the fact that it may conclude after period of 2 or more years?
Held: The Hon’ble AAR of Gujarat vide Advance Ruling/SGST&CGST/2018/AR/22 Dated July 30, 2018 has ruled that no other issue can be decided by the Advance Ruling Authority and therefore the Acts limit the Advance Ruling Authority to decide the issues earmarked for it under Section 97(2). Further the issues raised by the applicant do not fall in the category of Section 97(2) of the Acts. Whether the applicant shall continue to pay GST on disputed claims do not require determination of any issue enumerated under Section 97(2) of the Acts. Further, the issue of refund claim in case of conclusion of dispute after more than 2 years, is also not covered by Section 97(2) of the Acts.
This authority has been constituted in exercise of the powers conferred by section 96 of the Gujarat Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017, which Act extends to the whole of the state of Gujarat. This authority is a creature of statute and has to function within the legal boundary mandated by the Act. As the issue of ‘refund claim’ and ‘whether the applicant shall continue to pay GST on disputed claims’ are not covered by Section 97(2) of the Acts, this authority is helpless to answer the question raised in the application, as it is lacking jurisdiction to decide the issues. However, the application is therefore rejected without going into the merits of the case, on the issue of lack of jurisdiction, at the stage of admission.