1. Heard Mr. Nitin Kr. Pasari along with Ms. Sidhi Jalan learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner.
2. Heard Mr. P.A.S. Pati and Mr. Piyush Chitresh, learned counsels appearing on behalf of the respondents.
3. The present writ application was, interalia, filed challenging the refund rejection order for refund of input tax credit for the period August 2017 to January 2018 and for a mandamus seeking direction upon the respondents to grant the refund of ₹ 23,18,219/- for the month of August 2017 to January 2018 along with the interest till the time the amount is refunded. An alternative relief was also prayed seeking a direction upon the respondents to allow the petitioner to take re-credit of aforesaid amount in their electronic credit ledger at the time of filing monthly return or direct the respondents to grant re-credit immediately in the petitioner’s electronic ledger.
4. From the records of the case, it appears that the order for re-credit of the amount to cash or credit ledger in statutory Form GST PMT-03 under Rule 86(4) and 87(11) of the CGST Rules were duly issued by the respondents as back as on 28.06.2018 for the period August 2017 to January 2018 (Annexure-6) and during the pendency of this writ petition the amount has been credited in the electronic credit ledger of the petitioner vide process no.263 dated 08.04.2021.
5. The surviving grievance of the petitioner is that though the amount has been credited on 08.04.2021 but the statutory interest accruing on the same has not been credited and accordingly he has confined his relief to the claim of statutory interest as per the provisions of Sections 54 and 56 of the JGST Act.
6. Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that the credit has been made during pendency of the present writ application upon the intervention of this Court and a counter affidavit was called for by the respondents. He refers to order dated 06.04.2021 passed in the present case. He also submits that although Form GST PMT-03 were issued as back as on 28.06.2018, but there is no explanation in the counter affidavit filed by the respondents for not crediting the same immediately thereafter. The amount having not been credited, the petitioner had no option but to file this writ petition and pursuant thereto the concerned respondent has credited the principal amount only on 08.04.2021. He also submits that an order may be passed directing the respondent to credit the statutory interest as per the provisions of JGST Act.
7. Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondents, on the other hand, has submitted that the Form GST PMT–03 was issued as back as on 28.06.2018 and if the petitioner had any grievance, then he ought to have raise further grievance in Form GST PMT-04. Learned counsel submits that the credit having been made on 08.04.2021 the petitioner may raise his grievance in connection with the statutory interest.
8. During the course of hearing, a specific query was put to learned counsel for the respondents as to whether there is any explanation for not crediting the amount immediately after the issuance of Forms GST PMT-03 all dated 28.06.2018. Learned counsels for the respondents, after going through the counter affidavits filed in this case have submitted that no explanation as such has been given. However, he submits that if an application for interest is filed by the petitioner, the same will be considered in accordance with law.
9. After hearing learned counsel for the parties and considering the facts and circumstances of the case, this Court finds that an elaborate order dated 06.04.2021 was passed by this Court in which the affidavit of GSTN dated 12.03.2021 was also considered and para-6 and 7 of the same has also been quoted. By the said order a specific query was put to the state respondents viz.
If the refund claim has been purportedly rejected and the order of re-credit has also been passed in Form GST PMT 03 (Annexure-6), why has it not been re-credited to the Electronic Credit Ledger of the petitioner?
Upon this the Learned counsel for the respondent State sought one week time to resolve the issue. The Petitioner was directed to cooperate in case called for. It was also observed that if the resolution of the instant issue is not insight within this time, this court would be constrained to direct the respondent no. 2, 3 and 4 to appear on the next date to explain and the matter was directed to be listed on 20.04.2021. Affidavit in response, if any, about the outcome of the exercise was directed to be brought latest by 17.04. 2021.
10. Pursuant to the aforesaid order dated 06.04.2021, the respondent no. 4 credited the principal amount in the electronic credit ledger of the petitioner only on 08.04.2021 and filed affidavit to this effect.
11. This Court finds that although the Form GST PMT-03 were issued by the respondents as back as on 28.06.2018 but there is no worthwhile explanation from the side of the respondents as to why the credit was not made immediately thereafter. The contention of the learned counsels for the respondents that the petitioner should have filed his grievance in Form GST PMT-04 after issuance of Form GST PMT-03 is devoid of any merits in view of the fact that no such stand has been taken by the respondents in the counter affidavit. This Court also finds that the cause of action for claiming interest on the amount credited has arisen only upon the credit having been made on 08.04.2021 without any interest. This Court also finds that it is too late for the respondents to take a stand during the arguments that the petitioner ought of have filed statutory Form GST PMT-04 for redressal of its grievances. This court is of the considered view that the petitioner cannot be made to suffer on account of laches on the part of the respondents.
12. Considering the aforesaid facts and circumstances, this Court disposes of the present writ petition enabling the petitioner to file appropriate petition before the respondent no.4 for the purposes of lodging a claim of statutory interest for the period from issuance of Form GST PMT-03(annexure-6) till its credit vide order dated 08.04.2021. The petition should be filed within a period of 15 days from today and the respondent no.4 is directed to pass appropriate order in connection with the claim of statutory interest of the petitioner as per the provisions of JGST Act and the Rules framed thereunder.