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When a power is conferred on a statutory authority, it should be exercised in a reasonable manner.

Shanti Prime Publication Pvt. Ltd.

Section 129, 130 of CGST Act, 2017—Detention of vehicle along with goods—In the instant case, the writ petitioner is authorised dealer of Bajaj Auto. Goods shipped from Bajaj Auto at Pune to Petitioners for delivery at their premises at Virudhunagar. The vehicle transporting two wheelers instead of halting at Virudhunagar, had moved towards Sivakasi. When the vehicle was enroute to Sivakasi and 7 km away from Virudhunagar, it was intercepted by the respondent roving squad. The respondent seized the vehicle and called upon the driver of the vehicle to cooperate. It appears that the driver of the vehicle did not extend proper cooperation. In these circumstances, the impugned order of the detention came to be passed. The respondent had also passed release order putting the writ petitioner on terms. A sum of Rs.18,96,000/- had been levied as a penalty.

Held that—When the writ petitioner is a registered dealer, when the tax in respect of the goods have already been remitted and when the transportation of goods is duly covered by proper documentation, the respondent ought to have taken a sympathetic and indulgent view of the lapse committed by the driver of the vehicle. Respondent ought to have directed the driver of the vehicle to move back towards Virudhunagar instead of taking the drastic step of detaining the vehicle/seizing the goods and directing payment of penalty of Rs.18,96,000/- for release of vehicle. Respondent has chosen to be harsh and vindictive. The detention order dated 28.12.2018 and the order dated 11.01.2019 suffer from vice of gross unreasonableness and disproportionality.
When a power is conferred on a statutory authority, it should be exercised in a reasonable manner.

By directing the writ petitioner to pay a sum of Rs.5,000/- towards fine to the respondent, the orders impugned in this writ petition stands quashed. — Tvl. Rk Motors Vs. State Tax Officer [2019] 8 TAXLOK.COM 046 (Madras)