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*_Expired e-waybill does not necessary result into intention to evade taxes: Supreme Court_*

*In the Favour of Taxpayer*


Whether merely because transporter is carrying expired e-way bill during transportation of goods would result into inference that he intended to evade GST. Whether mens rea i.e. intention to evade taxes necessary in case of violation of e-way bill provisions?


H’ble Apex Court in the case of Satyam Shivam Papers Private Limited has held that there were no intentions of the petitioner to evade taxes by carrying the expired e-way bill. Rather it was due to blockage of road that the petitioner could not reach destination in time. The court held that it was the responsibility of the state to provide smooth passage of traffic. The e-way bill expired due to circumstances beyond the control of the petitioner, hence it was the abuse of powers by the department in invoking penal provisions on the petitioner.

*Our View*

H’ble Apex Court has upheld the order by the H’ble Telangana High Court and has given a clear message that penal provisions can be invoked only on proving intentions to evade taxes coupled with reasonableness. Merely because law provides for penalty does not give department to invoke penalties wherever they deem fit. They must assess the genuineness and reasons for failure to comply with the law and if it is found that taxpayer had intentions to evade taxes, only then the penalty can be levied.

The judgment would help in keeping a check on the powers used by the department and would help taxpayers get relief where non-compliance happens for reasons beyond their control. However, judgement has to be used very diligently and with utmost care based upon available records/documents.

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