Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana high court has issued a notice to the Union government and Haryana on a plea filed by telecom giant Bharti Airtel against recovery proceedings under the CGST Act, asking the company to deposit Rs 5.7 crore. A division bench comprising Justice Avneesh Jhingan and Justice Rajesh Bhardwaj of the HC issued the notice after taking cognisance of a petition filed by Bharti Airtel Limited. In its plea, the company has sought directions to quash the notice dated June 8.
The HC has been informed that on December 19, 2017, the petitioner filed its Form GSTR-1, showing supply of Rs 29,88,00,000 in respect of invoice No. 1. The Common Portal Identification Number (CPIN) challan was generated by the petitioner evidencing credit of amount to the account of the government and to the electronic cash ledger maintained by the petitioner.
The excise and taxation officer (ETO)-cum-proper officer/assessing authority Gurugram issued a notice to the company informing about a mismatch between Form GSTR-1 and Form GSTR-3B for the month of December 2018. On December 22, 2020, the company filed a reply explaining the alleged mismatch.
The ETO-cum-proper officer, state tax, Haryana State GST Intelligence Unit, Sector-34, Gurugram, issued summons to the petitioner company, seeking documents for the alleged liability to pay interest on account of late payment of tax for December 2018 and to appeal before the authority. On June 4, the company sent a mail, requesting the summoning authority for adjournment from personal appearance scheduled on June 4 on account of restrictions imposed in view of Covid-19 pandemic.
The company later sent a letter to the officer concerned, explaining the circumstances leading to mismatch in Form GSTR-1 and Form GSTR-3B and the rationale as to why the levy of interest is not warranted. Thereafter, notice was issued by the ETO-cum-proper officer, state tax, Haryana State GST Intelligence Unit, Sector-34, Gurugram, initiating recovery proceedings under Section 79 of the CGST Act and directing the petitioner company to deposit Rs 5,77,62,543 within seven days of the receipt of the said notice.
On June 12, summons were issued by the GST authorities concerned, seeking details of documents/information in the nature of list of bank accounts, list of debtors, details of receivables and to appear before them on June 15.
Aggrieved from this, the company approached the HC seeking directions to quash the June 8 order on the grounds that the notice has been issued by GST authorities, Gurugram, while exceeding their jurisdiction. Further directions have also been sought to declare that the retrospective amendment effected to Rule 61 (5) of the CGST Rules and Rule 61 (5) of the HGST Rules, 2017 cannot unsettle vested rights created in favour of the petitioner company against imposition of interest as on the date of payment of tax—January 17, 2019.
The matter has been fixed for July 5 for further hearing.