On October 15, 2020, the Confederation of GST Professionals and Industries (CGPI) has filed the Writ petition relating to the extension of due date for GSTR 9 and 9C in Bombay High Court.
The Bombay High Court had noted that the utility for filing GSTR 9 and GSTR 9C for FY 2018-19 was not available till February 29, 2020, and there was a complete lockdown till May 31, 2020. Following also there were severe restrictions on attendance of staff.
Sr. Advocate Ashok Saraf along with Advocates Ishaan Patkar, Shashank Dhond, Dinesh Tambde and Jindagi Shah appeared on behalf of the CGPI in the Bombay High Court. The advocates have presented their side in which they have said that because of the pandemic, there were staff restrictions of 10% allowed from June to August and from September only they have started allowing 30% till date. Further, there is no public transport. Dr.Saraf has said in his argument that it is highlighted that CA fraternity has heavy audit responsibilities & because of this mandate, Chartered Accountants have become “CORONA worriers”.
Dr.Saraf showed minutes of 39th GST Council meeting wherein Council has not only admitted that utility was not available till 29th February 2020 but also specifically admitted that there were problems with Table 8A etc. after it was made available.
The arguments were made that the statute gives a period of 9 months from 31st March to 31st December. On ordinary principles of limitation, the period up to 29th February 2020 must be excluded and the date will then be 30th November 2020. Also, by excluding the lockdown period from March 2020 to May 2020, the due date should ideally end by February 2021. Yet, the Petitioner did not want to shrink away from statutory responsibility of audit and was asking extended time till 31st December 2020 only, even though they were legally entitled till February 2021.
The Bombay High Court after hearing the petition and noting down all the arguments of the petitioners called for ASG to appear and tell them how the Union of India intends to resolve the problem for the benefit of the public.
With Warm Regards,