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The Hon’ble Jammu and Kashmir & Ladakh High Court (“J&K & L HC”) in the case of Perveez Ahmad Baba v. Union Territory of JK, [LPA No. 197/2022] held that, the Goods and Services Tax (“GST”) Registration once issued to the assessee and later cancelled upon request can’t be revoked merely on the basis of disputes with brother of the applicant, over undivided property.
Mr. Perveez Ahmed Baba (“the Appellant”) running Samci Restaurant, whose licenses was cancelled by the Assistant Commissioner for Food Safety, Department of Drug and Food Control Organization, J&K at the request of the Appellant's brother due to family dispute. Following the same, the GST Registration of the Appellant was also cancelled by the State Taxes Officer, Circle F-Kashmir.
The Appellant filed writ petition being WP (C) No. 1997/2021 before the J&K & L HC. The writ petition was disposed of by the single bench by holding that “so long as the premises to be licensed under the Act remains under dispute between the petitioner and respondent no 5, the designated authority under the Act is well within its power not to grant or renew the license under the Act in favour of one and to the exclusion of other.”
Aggrieved by the Order in the writ petition, The Appellant filed the Letters Patent Appeal (“LPA”) before the division bench of the J&K & L HC.
The Appellant’s brother, also the respondent in this case took a stand stating that an application was submitted by the appellant on July 04, 2019, seeking cancellation of license on the ground that his brother had deceitfully obtained license under Food Safety and Standards Act, under the pretext of which a show cause notice was also issued.
Whether cancellation of the GST registration can be revoked due to disputes over undivided property?
The Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir was represented by Advocate General D C Raina, who asserted that there was no chance that a third party had committed fraud by requesting the registration's revocation. The online nature of the cancellation process, which required submission of specific sensitive information that would have been shared only with the appellant, was cited as the cause.
The Appellant’s argued that he had filed an application with the Deputy Commissioner (Appeals), Sales Tax Department, Kashmir Division, Srinagar, asking for the order of cancellation issued by the STO Circle F- Kashmir on April 16, 2021, to be revoked. It was claimed that the application for the restaurant's registration to be cancelled was falsely shown to have been filed by him when it seemed to be an act of mischief by some of his employees. The said application has not been decided yet.
The court refrained from delving into the merits of the ongoing property dispute between the appellant's brother and himself after taking note of it.
The High Court ruled that "registration of the business unit, the same stands cancelled" and restricted the operation/running of the Restaurant until the license has been granted in favour of the deserving party, observing that the proper course in law was to leave the concerned authority free to decide which of the two fulfils the criteria for holding a license.
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