Additional grounds be taken in GST Appeal
As a general rule, all legal points must be agitated before original adjudicating authority. Similarly, all evidence should to be produced before original adjudicating authority. Additional grounds of appeal and additional evidence is not permissible as a matter of routine.
However, Appellate Authority, on its own, can call for any document or examine any witness or ask for filing of affidavit.
Nothing contained in this rule shall affect the power of the Appellate Authority or the Appellate Tribunal to direct the production of any document, or the examination of any witness, to enable it to dispose of the appeal.
The Appellant Authority has to follow the principles of natural justice – such as hearing the appellant, allowing reasonable adjournments (not more than 3), permitting additional grounds (if found reasonable), etc. The Appellant Authoritycan also make such further inquiry as may be necessary.
No restrictions under the Act in accepting additional grounds
The CGST Act 2017 does not provide any restrictions on accepting additional grounds at appellate stage.
In this regard, following observations of Supreme Court are very relevant. Though the case is in respect of Income Tax, the observations should apply in all appeals.
“The Act does not contain any express provision debarring an assessee from raising an additional ground in appeal. In absence of statutory provision, the general principle relating to amplitude of appellate authority’s power being co-terminus with that of initial authority should normally apply. There may be several factors justifying raising of a new plea, and each case has to be considered on its own facts. Of course, while permitting assessee to raise an additional ground, the authority should exercise his discretion in accordance with law and reason. He must be satisfied that the ground raised was bona fide and that the same could not be raised earlier for good reasons. The satisfaction of appellate authority depends upon facts and circumstances of each case and no rigid principles or any hard and fast rule can be laid down. – Jute Corporation of India Ltd. v. CIT – AIR 1991 SC 241 (SC 3 member bench). – quoted with approval in National Thermal Power Co Ltd. v. CIT (1998) 229 ITR 383 (SC 3 member bench).
In CIT v. Mahalaxmi Textiles Mills Ltd. (1967) 66 ITR 710 (SC) also, it was held that there are no restrictions on powers of Tribunal in relation to questions that can be determined. All questions, whether of law or of fact, which relate to assessment may be raised before the Tribunal.