Section 84a of Gujarat VAT Act Unconstitutional

Section 84A of the Gujarat Value Added Tax Act, held unconstitutional and was struck down by the Gujarat High Court

The Court ruled that the clause was ultra vires and beyond State Legislature legal competence. The bench comprising Justices J.B Pardiwala and A.C. Rao also ruled that it was manifestly unconstitutional, unfair and, thus, in violation of Articles 14 and 19(1) (g) of the Indian Constitution.

Section 84A, enacted by the VAT Amendment Act, 2018, provided for the exclusion of the period between the date of the appeal tribunal's decision and that of the High Court and the Supreme Court in determining the limitation period referred to in Article 75 of the VAT Act.

The provision had been challenged by the Reliance Industries, and some others.

"We are of the view that if unlimited time period is available to the Revenue for assessment/reassessment/revision in any case based on a decision rendered in the case of any other dealer the same would lead to an irreparable situation and, in such circumstances, it renders Section 84A manifestly arbitrary and unreasonable", the bench noted.

In the SC decision Mafatlal Industries Ltd. vs. Union of India, (1998) 111 STC 467 (SC), the judgment relied heavily on the principle that "one of the important principles of law, based on public policy, is the sanctity attached to the purpose of any proceeding, whether it be a suit or any other proceeding."

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