Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar, J., while holding the detention of goods valid as per Section 129(1)(b) read with Section 129(3) of the GST Act, discussed the requisites of interstate transactions under the GST Act.

Brief Facts

Facts of the case are enumerated hereunder;

  1. That the petitioner, who is a purchaser of turmeric from an agriculturist in Karnataka, has approached against detention of a consignment in transit.
  2. That it is the case of the petitioner that, the consignment was being transported under cover of an invoice generated by the petitioner in his capacity as purchaser of the goods, which showed the goods as attracting tax on reverse charge basis, and an e-way bill which reflected that the consignment was, as such, exempted from tax.
  3. That the vehicle and the goods were detained, and notice in FORM GST MOV-7 was issued to the petitioner wherein the objection was essentially with regard to the non-registration of the person making the interstate supply, as also the fact that the purchase bill issued by the petitioner was not a valid document for the purposes of supporting an interstate taxable supply.
  4. That it is the aforementioned detention order that the petitioner has moved against, relying on provisions contended herein. 

Contentions

The petitioner contends that, while the consignor agriculturist is not required to take any registration in view of the express provisions of Section 23(1)(b) of the Act, he is also not required to take compulsory registration under Section 24, since the non-obstante clause in Section 24 does not apply to agriculturists mentioned under Section 23. It is his further case that while the e-way bill clearly indicated that the goods were exempted goods, being turmeric bulbs and turmeric, even if the respondents have a case that the goods have been wrongly classified, the same cannot be a reason for detaining the goods under Section 129.

The Government Pleader submitted that the goods on verification were found to not answer the description of exempted goods under HSN Code 910 (for which the consignment was allegedly booked). Further, the consignment was not accompanied by a delivery challan that is required to accompany any consignment of exempted goods sold by an unregistered person.

Observations

The Court observed, “… non-registration of the consignor, or the alleged misclassification of the goods under transportation, cannot be a ground for detention under Section 129 of the GST Act.”  However, “the consignor being an unregistered person, and the goods supplied by him to the petitioner being exempted goods, the transportation had to be covered not only by an e-way bill but also by a delivery challan, and since the transportation was not covered by a delivery challan, the respondents were justified in detaining the consignment.”

The Court deciding upon the liability of the petitioner under Section 129(1)(b) of the Act, said, “(…) the petitioner would have to pay the lesser of an amount equal to 5% of the value of the goods or Rs 25000. In the instant case, the value of the goods being approximately 1000000, the lesser amount would be Rs 25000 which amount the petitioner would necessarily have to pay to obtain a release of the goods and the vehicle.”

Decision

Disposing off the present petition, the Court directed the respondents to release the goods and the vehicle to the petitioner on payment of Rs 25000 by the petitioner, as required in terms of Section 129(1)(b) read with Section 129(3) of the GST Act.[Mohammed Shereef v. State of Kerala, WP (C) No. 23397 of 2020, decided on 02-11-2020]


Sakshi Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

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Former Chief Justice K.K. Usha of Kerala High Court breathed her last breath yesterday.

She served her term as the Judge of Kerala High Court from 25-02-1991 to 03-07-2001, wherein she served as the Chief Justice of the High Court from 2000 to 2001.

Post-retirement she was appointed as president of the Customs, Excise, and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal.

Between 2005 and 2006, she headed an enquiry by the Indian People’s Tribunal (IPT) to investigate the communal situation in Orissa.

Justice Usha represented India at the International Convention of the International Federation of Women Lawyers in Hamburg, Germany in 1975.

She was India’s representative at the United Nations’ Joint Seminar on ‘Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women‘ organised by the International Federation of Women Lawyers and the International Federation of Women of Legal Careers.

Justice Usha was the second woman to have served as the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court.

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Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Kurian Joseph, J. delivered the judgment for himself and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, J. wherein it was held that forfeiture of gratuity, under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 is not automatic on dismissal from service.

The respondent, an employee of the appellant bank, was dismissed on account of proved misconduct involving moral turpitude Consequently, the respondent was issued a show-cause notice as to why the gratuity amount payable to him should not be forfeited. Subsequently, an explanation of the respondent was rejected and the gratuity was forfeited. The respondent challenged the said forfeiture before the Kerala High Court which held that the gratuity was payable. Aggrieved thus, the appellant filed the instant appeal.

The question that arose for consideration before the Supreme Court was ‘whether forfeiture of gratuity is automatic on dismissal form service?’ The Supreme Court referred to Section 4 of the Act along with its earlier judgments in Beed District Central Coop. Bank Ltd. v. State of Maharashtra, (2006) 8 SCC 514; Y.K. Singla v. PNB, (2013) 3 SCC 472 and Jaswant Singh Gill v. Bharat Coking Coal Ltd., (2007) 1 SCC 663. The Court observed that forfeiture of gratuity, either wholly and partially is permissible under  Section 6(b)(ii) only in the event that termination is on the account of riotous or disorderly conduct or any other act of violence or on account of an act constituting an offence involving moral turpitude, when he is convicted. In the present case, there was no conviction of the respondent for the misconduct which according to the bank was offence involving moral turpitude. The Court finally observed that forfeiture of gratuity is not automatic on dismissal from service, it is subject to sub-sections (5) and (6) of Section 4 of Payment of Gratuity Act. The Court found that the there was no infirmity in the order impugned. Thus, the appeal was dismissed holding it to be sans merit. [Union Bank of India v. C.G. Ajay Babu,2018 SCC OnLine SC 962, dated 14-08-2018]

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