Garg Rice Mills & others Vs. State of Punjab & others (Punjab and Haryana High Court)

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Introduction:

In a significant legal development, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued a stay on the passing of final orders in Section 73 cases for the fiscal year 2018-19. The case in question, Garg Rice Mills & others vs. State of Punjab & others, delves into complex legal issues surrounding the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act.

Detailed Analysis: The court’s decision inter alia relies on the pendency of CWP-27388-2022, titled M/s Midas Agro Foods Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Union of India & others, scheduled for 25.01.2024. This case, along with connected cases, challenges a circular dated 20.11.2017 (Annexure P-3), highlighting that stay had been declined in numerous cases following the stay on the judgment of the Andhra Pradesh High Court by the Apex Court on 21.11.2022. Mr. Goyal, representing the petitioners, introduces an additional argument claiming that notices issued on 27.12.2023, for the financial year 2018-19, are time-barred.

He challenges notifications dated 31.03.2023 & 28.12.2023 (Annexures P-9 & P-10) under Section 168A of the Central Goods & Services Tax Act, 2017, extending the time limit for passing orders under Section 73(10). The extension is contested, citing ongoing challenges in the Gujarat High Court and Allahabad High Court. The petitioner distinguishes this case from earlier instances where stay was not granted, asserting that the show cause notices are now time-barred. Notice of motion has been accepted by Mr. Saurabh Kapoor, Addl.A.G. Punjab, on behalf of respondents No.1, 3 & 4, who seeks time to file a reply.

The court has scheduled further proceedings, allowing them to continue, but prohibits the passing of a final order until the next hearing on 25.01.2024.

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