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Illness: A Genuine Cause for Relief in Indian GST

Abhishek Raja , Last updated: 29 May 2024  
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Introduction

In the realm of Indian taxation, including the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the legal system recognizes illness as a genuine cause for relief in various scenarios. This article explores the judicial wisdom and statutory provisions that address this issue. We will delve into specific cases where courts have provided relief due to illness and analyze the constitutional aspects that may be applicable.

Illness: A Genuine Cause for Relief in Indian GST

Legal Precedents and High Court Decisions

1. Orissa High Court: Radhagobinda Market Complex

  • Context: The assessee failed to respond to a Show Cause Notice (SCN) due to illness.
  • Outcome: The High Court remanded the matter for a fresh assessment, acknowledging the genuine cause of illness.

2. Allahabad High Court

Aryavart Agencies

  • Context: The GST registration was canceled because the assessee couldn't reply to the SCN due to the proprietor's illness.
  • Outcome: The court set aside the cancellation order.

Shiv Construction Co.

  • Context: Under the Uttar Pradesh VAT, the sole working partner's illness caused a delay in filing an appeal.
  • Outcome: The delay was condoned, recognizing the illness as a sufficient cause

3. Delhi High Court: Anita Bansal

  • Context: The GST demand order was passed solely because the assessee did not submit a reply.
  • Outcome: The demand order was set aside, emphasizing that the lack of a reply was due to illness.

4. Bombay High Court: Chetan Singh Rathod

  • Context: The appellant could not file an appeal in time due to illness.
  • Outcome: The court condoned the delay, highlighting that the delay was not deliberate. A cost of Rs. 5000 was imposed.

5. Madras High Court: Maasha Allah Agencies

  • Context: There was a delay of 413 days in filing an appeal before the Tribunal due to the appellant's illness.
  • Outcome: The delay was condoned after the appellant provided a categorical statement about the illness.
 

6. Gujarat High Court: B Nanji Finance Ltd

  • Context: Delay in filing an appeal before the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) due to the partners' illness.
  • Outcome: The court condoned a four-month delay and restored the matter for fresh consideration.

7. CESTAT - Delhi: Surabhi Travels & Tours

  • Context: Waiver of penalty for continuous default in tax payment due to illness and disability.
  • Outcome: The penalty was reduced significantly, considering the illness and the low tax amount involved.

8. ITAT Kolkata: Pragati Transport Co.

  • Context: Delay in submitting quarterly TDS returns due to the serious illness of the accountant.
  • Outcome: The penalty was waived, recognizing the circumstances beyond the assessee's control.
 

Constitutional Aspects

The Indian Constitution, through Article 14, guarantees equality before the law. This provision implies that genuine hardships, such as illness, should be considered when enforcing tax laws and penalties. Article 21, which guarantees the right to life and personal liberty, further supports the view that individuals should not be unduly penalized when health issues impede their compliance with tax regulations.

Conclusion

Illness is widely recognized by Indian courts as a genuine cause for relief in various tax matters, including GST. The judiciary has consistently provided relief by condoning delays and setting aside adverse orders when illness impedes compliance. This approach aligns with constitutional principles and statutory provisions designed to ensure fairness and justice in tax administration. The wisdom of the courts in these matters underscores the importance of compassion and understanding in legal proceedings, ensuring that individuals are not unduly penalized for circumstances beyond their control. This approach fosters a more humane and equitable tax system, upholding the constitutional values of equality and justice.

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Published by

Abhishek Raja
(Practising CA)
Category GST   Report

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