“Officers Are In League With Assesses”: Supreme Court Pulls Up Central Govt. Over Delay In Filing Revenue Appeals By Govt.

first_imgTop Stories”Officers Are In League With Assesses”: Supreme Court Pulls Up Central Govt. Over Delay In Filing Revenue Appeals By Govt. Mehal Jain11 Feb 2021 11:00 PMShare This – xThe Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the Union of India for its trend of filing appeals before the court in revenue matters with gross delay.The bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah was hearing an appeal u/s 35 L of Central Excise and Salt Act, 1944 by the Commissioner of Central Excise and Sales Tax, Surat against a CESTAT order, which had been filed with a delay of 536…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the Union of India for its trend of filing appeals before the court in revenue matters with gross delay.The bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah was hearing an appeal u/s 35 L of Central Excise and Salt Act, 1944 by the Commissioner of Central Excise and Sales Tax, Surat against a CESTAT order, which had been filed with a delay of 536 days.Justice Chandrachud noted that repeatedly, the attention of the court has been drawn to the fact that appeals in revenue matters are being filed with gross delay, accompanied with an application for condonation of delay. When the court refuses to entertain the plea, the officers then justify their action saying that though they had moved the court, the Supreme Court did not condone the delay and rejected the appeal.The bench recorded the submission of advocate SA Haseeb, who was being led in the matter by ASG Balbir Singh, that the delay had occurred on account of a misapprehension at the level of the Commissionerate that the appeal was to lie before the Gujarat High Court. It was only after the appeal before the High Court came to be dismissed, that the department moved the Supreme Court, which caused the delay.The bench stated that the legal position that the appeal is to lie before the Supreme Court cannot be a matter of doubt and it cannot be for the department to argue that it was not aware of this modality.”The central government in the revenue department must find an answer for such conduct of its officers and ensure that the matters which are to be litigated are dealt with by necessary dispatch”, noted the bench.The bench has requested Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to appear before it on Monday and apprise the court of the steps to be taken by the central government that litigations are conducted in observance of timelines instead of officers putting up such kinds of excuses.”It seems that the Union of India files appeals only to get the ‘chhaap’ or the stamp that it had appealed before the Supreme Court “, observed Justice Chandrachud at the outset.”We should call Solicitor General. In all matters, there is 400 to 500 days’ delay”, added Justice Shah. It was considered initially that officers at the secretary-level in the CBDT and the CBIC also be called as regards corrective measures.”The officers are in league with the assessee. They first file the appeal with the wrong court, then the appeal lies in objection, it is kept pending and then it is finally dismissed. Then they come before the Supreme Court with an application for the condonation of delay. When the court refuses to entertain the plea, they just say “What can we do? We had approached the court and filed the appeal but it was the Supreme Court that did not entertain”! They push the burden to the Supreme Court “, commented Justice Chandrachud.”In every matter of taxation, be it customs, be it income tax, there is a delay of 300 to 400 days!”, remarked Justice Shah.”Why would the Union of India file an appeal in the High Court when it knows that the appeal has to come before the Supreme Court? You are not an uninitiated person”, said Justice Chandrachud to Mr Haseeb.When Mr Haseeb sought to advance, by way of explanation, that there might not be sufficient legal knowledge at the commissionerate level, the bench was surprised.He explained that he had intended to imply that the officers perhaps miss that their remedy lies before the Supreme Court and not before High Courts.”There is a deliberate delay! To get the seal of the Supreme Court!”, commented Justice Shah.”We are noticing this in matter after matter. There are hundreds of crores involved. The officers just say that the Supreme Court did not condone the delay. They are taking us for a ride and also this is an abuse of the process by the officers!…When there is a question of an inspector being promoted to a higher level, the appeals are filed on time!”, remarked Justice ChandrachudIncidentally, in the immediately successive matter also, which was an appeal under the same provisions by the Commissioner of Central Excise and Sales. Tax, Chandigarh, there happened to be a delay of 808 days. In this matter, ASG N. Venkataraman appeared for the appellant.Justice Chandrachud noted that in the instance case also, in March 2019, the appeal had come to be filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court and it was dismissed in February 2020.”You know how your revenue department works. You have worked on both sides. I have also worked on both sides”, directed Justice Shah at the ASG.”How can the Commissionerate not know that the appeal lies before the Supreme Court? The Union of India cannot take the view that the officers don’t know how to file an appeal!”, continued Justice Chandrachud.”If you see the statistics, you will be shocked! 80 to 90% of the appeals are filed with such gross delay “, said Justice ShahClick Here To Download Order[Read Order]Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more