(1.) Petitioner has prayed for the following relief(s):-
"a) For issuance of writ in the nature of certiorari for quashing of the order dtd. 29/1/2022 issued vide memo number 19 passed and issued by the respondent number 2 (hereinafter referred to as the appellate authority for short) whereby the appeal preferred by the petitioner under Sec. 107 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (hereinafter referred to as the Central Act 2017 for short) and Bihar Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (hereinafter referred to as the Bihar Act 2017 for short).
b) For issuance of writ or order or direction in the nature of certiorari for quashing of the order dtd. 16/3/2020 passed by the respondent number 3 (hereinafter referred to as the assessing authority for short) under Sec. 73 of the Central Act, 2017 and Bihar Act, 2017 and also for quashing of the summary of order issued in form GST DRC-07 dtd. 16/3/2020;
c) For further restraining the respondents from taking any coercive action against the petitioner for recovery of the amount of tax and penalty in terms of the impugned orders during the pendency of the present writ application;
d) For grant of any other relief or reliefs to which the petitioner is found entitled in the facts and circumstances of this case."
(2.) It is brought to our notice that vide impugned order dtd. 29/1/2022 passed by the respondent No.2, namely, the Additional Commissioner of State Taxes(Appeals), East Division, Patna in GST/PTN-01/20-21 the appeal of the petitioner against the order dtd. 16/3/2020 issued issued by the respondent no. 3 namely the Assistant Commissioner State Tax, Patna North Circle, Patna in Form GST/DRC-07 as well as summary of order dtd. 16/3/2020, has been rejected affirming the order of the Assessing Authority.
Learned counsel for the Revenue, states that he has no objection if the matter is remanded to the Assessing Authority for deciding the case afresh, on merits. Also, during pendency of the case, no coercive steps shall be taken against the petitioner.
Statement accepted and taken on record.
However, having heard learned counsel for the parties as also perused the record made available, we are of the considered view that this Court, notwithstanding the statutory remedy, is not precluded from interfering where, ex facie, we form an opinion that the order is bad in law. This we say so, for two reasons- (a) violation of principles of natural justice, i.e. fair opportunity of hearing, contentions raised not considered by the Assessing Authority as well as the Appellate Authority; (b) order passed does not assign any reason sufficient, even decipherable from the record, as to how the officer could determine the amount due and payable by the assessee. The order passed in violation of the principles of natural justice, entails civil consequences. As such, on this short ground alone, we dispose of the present writ petition in the following mutually agreeable terms:
(a) We quash and set aside the impugned order dtd. 29/1/2022 passed by the respondent No.2, namely, the Additional Commissioner of State Taxes(Appeals), East Division, Patna in GST/PTN-01/20-21 and order dtd. 16/3/2020 issued issued by the respondent no. 3 namely the Assistant Commissioner State Tax, Patna North Circle, Patna in Form GST/DRC-07 as well as summary of order dtd. 16/3/2020, for the tax period 2019-20;
(b) We accept the statement of the petitioner that ten per cent of the total amount, being condition prerequisite for hearing of the appeal, already stands deposited. If that were so, well and good. However, if the amount is not deposited for whatever reason(s), same shall be done before the next date;
(c) Further the petitioner undertakes to additionally deposit ten per cent of the amount of the demand raised before the Assessing Authority. This shall be done within four weeks from the date of passing of the order;.
(d) We also direct for de-freezing/de-attaching of the bank account(s) of the writ-petitioner, if attached, in reference to the proceedings, subject matter of present petition. This shall be done immediately.
(e) Petitioner undertakes to appear before the Assessing Authority on 20/4/2022 at 10:30 A.M.;
(f) The Assessing Authority shall decide the case on merits after complying with the principles of natural justice;
(g) We also find the authorities not to have adjudicated the matter on the attending facts and circumstances. All issues of fact and law ought to have been dealt with, even if the proceedings were to be ex parte in nature:
(h) Opportunity of hearing shall be afforded to the parties to place on record all essential documents and materials, if so required and desired;
(i) During pendency of the assessment proceeding, no coercive steps shall be taken against the petitioner;
(j) The Assessing Authority shall pass a fresh order only after affording adequate opportunity to all concerned, including the writ petitioner;
(k) Petitioner through learned counsel undertakes to fully cooperate in such proceedings and not take unnecessary adjournment;
(l) The Assessing Authority shall decide the case on merits expeditiously, preferably within a period of two months from the date of appearance of the petitioner;
(m) The Assessing Authority shall pass a speaking order, assigning reasons, copy whereof shall be supplied to the parties;
(n) Liberty reserved to the petitioner to challenge the order before this Court, if required and desired;
(o) Equally, liberty reserved to the parties to take recourse to such other remedies as are otherwise available in accordance with law;
(p) We are hopeful that as and when petitioner takes recourse to such remedies, before the appropriate forum, the same shall be dealt with, in accordance with law, with reasonable dispatch;
(q) We have not expressed any opinion on merits and all issues are left open;
(3.) The instant petition sands disposed of in the aforesaid terms.
Interlocutory Application(s), if any, also stands disposed of.
Learned counsel for the respondents undertakes to communicate the order to the appropriate authority through electronic mode. ;