Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 1
The Supreme Court today stayed a Punjab and Haryana High Court order that had quashed VAT assessment notices, involving crores of rupees, issued to 47 business establishments in Chandigarh.
While staying the operation of the High Court’s February 19 order, a three-Judge Bench, headed by Justice DY Chandrachud, also issued notices to the 47 assesses asking them to respond in six weeks to the petition filed by the UT Administration.
The order of the top court came after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta pointed out that the High Court erred in setting aside the assessment notices.
The cases relate to assessment years 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11. The notices for assessment under Section 29(2) of the Punjab Value Added Tax Act, 2005, were issued and finalised in 2019.
On a batch of petitions filed by traders, a Punjab and Haryana High Court Bench of Avneesh Jhingan and Ajay Tewari had set aside the notices mainly on the ground that these were beyond the period of limitation.
“As per Rule 40 of the Punjab Value Added Tax Rules, 2005 (as applicable to Union Territory, Chandigarh), the annual statement is to be filed by November 20 of the year concerned. The last assessment year involved in the bunch is assessment year 2010-11. The annual statement was to be filed by November 20, 2011, and six years expired on November 19, 2017. Admittedly, all notices have been issued in 2019,” the High Court had said, pointing out that the notices were beyond the period of limitation. However, after the stay order issued by the top court, the UT Administration can now go ahead with the assessment and subsequent recovery of hundreds of crores of rupees. A single assessment involved Rs60 crore.
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