In PIL No. 1805/2020, Adv. Sanjay Jhanwar, Adv. Rahul Lakhwani and Adv. Prateek Gattani appeared for the Petitioner (Tax Bar Association, Jodhpur) before the High Court of Rajasthan regarding technical glitches being faced by the taxpayers in filing of GSTR-9/9C on the GSTN portal. 

The counsels also informed the court regarding new ways of extension of due dates for GSTR-9/9C by the CBIC through its twitter handle.

The court after taking into consideration screenshots submitted by the Petitioner regarding the unsuccessful attempts of the tax professionals again during the extended period, was satisfied that GSTN portal does not have requisite capacity to handle the filing of pending returns within the deadline. 

Even according to data submitted by the counsels of Union of India, the portal at its best day accepted about 2,00,0000 returns where as pending returns as of 1.30 PM on 5th Feb, 2020 were about approx 30 lacs. 

Keeping the bottleneck of the server capacity of GSTN, the division bench of Hon’ble Rajasthan High Court comprising of Hon’ble Chief Justice Inderjit Mahanty and Hon’ble Justice Pushpendra Singh Bhati directed the respondents to file a detailed reply by 12th Feb, 2020 about their preparedness and GSTN capacity. They also directed to accept GSTR-9 AND GSTR-9C returns without charging any late fees till 12th Feb, 2020. 

It is interesting to note that in the hearing at 1st instance today in morning, the court asked the Respondents to seek instructions whether the Respondents are ready to accept the return through email, by today which in the post lunch hearing at 2 PM was declined by the Respondents counsel at the instructions of the Union of India.

The PIL was strongly opposed by the Counsel of Union of India and State of Rajasthan on the ground that why the taxpayers are waiting for last date for filing of the return. The High Court turned down the arguments of UOI on the basis that it is a legal right of the taxpayers to file returns up to the last date. Further, advocate of the Petitioner Association Mr. Sanjay Jhanwar demonstrated various instances of the technical difficulties as faced by the taxpayers through various screenshots up to 4th Feb, 2020 during the extended period.

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