Release of detained goods due to wrong distance in Eway Bill : HC direction to GST authorities

By | December 4, 2018
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(Last Updated On: December 4, 2018)

HIGH COURT OF KERALA

Sabitha Riyaz

v.

Union of India

DAMA SESHADRI NAIDU, J.

WP (C) NO. 34874 OF 2018

OCTOBER  31, 2018

Dr. K.P. PradeepSmt. Neena ArimboorSmt. Rani MumthasSanand RamakrishnanSmt. Anjana Kannath and T.T. Biju for the Petitioner. N. Nagaresh, Assistant Solicitor General for the Respondent.

JUDGMENT

1. The petitioner, a trader, transported natural rubber. After generating e-way bill, she sent a consignment to Uttarakhand, with all the relevant records. But it was seized by the State Tax Officer, Uttarakhand, the additional 11th respondent. The ground for detention is that in the e-way bill the distance between Kerala and the destination at Uttarakhand was shown as 280 Kms, instead of 2800 Kms. To have this evident error corrected, the petitioner could have taken recourse to Rule 138(9) of the CGST Rules. That correction, however, could be possible only within 24 hours.

2. The petitioner’s counsel submits that this is a typographical error. And the petitioner noticed it only when the 11th respondent intercepted the goods and inspected the documents. According to the learned counsel, the 7th respondent, the authority concerned in Kerala, could either permit the petitioner to generate a new e-way bill or certify that the error is clerical. In reply, the Standing Counsel submits that since the entire system is online, the 7th respondent could not correct the error, at this stage. He also submits that there is no provision in the Rules for such correction, either.

3. That apart, the learned Standing Counsel submits that a certificate, as sought by the petitioner from the 7th respondent, is also not possible because the Authority has no such power conferred on him. At any rate, he too felt that the mistake is genuine, evident, and needs correction, in the interest of justice.

4. This Court intended to serve a notice on the 11th respondent, stationed at Uttarakhand and then rule on the issue.

5. The petitioner’s counsel, however, submits that the produce being transported is natural rubber and it has been in detention for the past ten days. As its shelf life is very short, any further delay in the matter will render the whole consignment worthless. Nevertheless, he insists that if this Court observes that the error in e-way bill is minor apart from being typographical, then it stands covered and exempted under the Circular No.64/38/2018-GST, dated 14th September 2018.

6. Indeed, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs has come across many minor discrepancies in the e-way bills, resulting in summary detention of the goods. Then, it has issued this circular.

I reckon the distance between Kerala and Uttarakhand is a matter of record and thus verifiable. As I have already noted, the eway bill showed the distance as 280 Kms, instead of 2800 Kms-one zero missing. This cannot be anything other than a typographical error, and a minor at that.

Under these circumstances, I hold that the 11th respondent will consider the petitioner’s request for release in terms of the circular, expeditiously. With these observations, I dispose of the writ petition.

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