Petitioner primarily challenges Ext.P6 order of assessment. The main contention raised by the petitioner is that of violation of the principles of natural justice in as much as, he had not been granted an opportunity of filing an objection and personal hearing. A perusal of Ext.P8 shows that a show cause notice was issued to the petitioner under Section 74 (1) of the CGST/SGST Act, 2017 which is stated to have been served on the petitioner on 12.08.2021. However, thereafter, the explanation as sought for was not filed by the petitioner.
2. It is the case of the petitioner that due to Covid related issues, petitioner was laid up and even hospitalized as a result of which, he could not file his objections to the notice served upon him. It is also pointed out that, had an opportunity been granted to him to file a proper objection, the assessment order would not have been issued in the nature it has been done.
3. I have heard Adv. Alex M. Scaria, the learned Counsel for petitioner as well as Adv. Dr.Thushara James, the learned senior Government Pleader.
4. A perusal of Ext.P8 order shows that the same had been issued without giving a breathing time to petitioner. An assessment order being the commencement point of various rights and or obligations that accrue to assessees, it is necessary that a reasonable time is granted to the assessees to file their objections. In this context, it is relevant to bear in mind that the Hon’ble Supreme Court had extended all periods of limitation till 02.10.2021 taking into consideration, the specific issues relating to Covid. In such circumstances, it cannot be said that petitioner had been granted sufficient opportunity to reply to the notice. The claim of the petitioner that he had time till 02.10.2021 as directed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, cannot also be lost sight of.
In any event, having regard to the contentions raised, I am of the view that Ext.P8 is liable to be set aside and accordingly, I set aside Ext.P8. However, petitioner shall file an objection not later than 30.10.2021 and the respondent shall hear the petitioner on 10.11.2021 and pass appropriate orders as early as possible. Petitioner shall treat this judgment as sufficient notice of the dates for filing objection and for the hearing.
The writ petition is allowed as above.