SGST High Court Cases

GST – Section 129(6) of the CGST Act – Entitlement to seek release of the detained goods - Petitioner is the transporter of the consignee - The consignments transported by petitioner were intercepted by the authorities alleging discrepancies in the e-way bill and other documents – Whether benefit granted to the owner of the goods to seek release of the detained goods on payment of penalty or furnishing of security, would be equally applicable to the case of a transporter as well – HELD – the entitlement to seek release under Section 129 is only qua the owner / agent / representative of the owner. This interpretation is supported by the language used in the first proviso to Section 129(6) of the Act that specifically uses the term 'transporter' and states that such transporter may seek release of the conveyance on payment of penalty or of a sum of Rs. One lakh whichever was less - Legislature has been conscious of the roles of the various persons involved in a transaction of carriage of goods such as the consignor / agents / representatives, the consignee / purchasers and transporter. The entitlement to seek release has also been carefully and consciously sculpted - While the owner or any person transporting the goods has been granted the right to seek release, only a limited benefit has been made available to a transporter, and that too, qua the release of conveyance alone - Both sub-Sections (1) and (6) of Section 129 of the Act use the phrase 'goods or conveyance' whereas the proviso extends the benefit of release to the transporter, but restricted to the conveyance alone - Thus, the transporter may seek release of only the conveyance, upon satisfaction of the statutory conditions - As far as the goods are concerned, if the owner / agent / representative does not come forward to claim the same after receipt of notices from the department and upon satisfaction of the conditions under Section 129, it is open to the revenue to take such steps as it may deem fit in that regard - The question is answered accordingly and adverse to the transporter - writ petitions are disposed - Whether upon remittance of the 25% of penalty in terms of sub-section 7 of Section 107 of the Act, can the seized goods become liable to be released automatically – HELD - the question of release, is one that will have to be decided by the appellate authority upon the strength of the case made out by the asessees including, but not limited to prima facie case, financial stringency and balance of convenience - the petitioners are permitted to file appeals accompanied by applications seeking release of the goods. Upon receipt of such appeals/petitions seeking interim release, the appellate authority shall hear the petitioners and pass orders in regard to the interim applications within a period of one week

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