The penalty prescribed under Section 171 (3A) cannot be imposed on the Respondents retrospectively.
Anti-profiteering- The brief facts of the case were that the Applicant had alleged that the Respondents had not passed on the benefit of reduction in the rate of GST from 28% to 18% w.e.f. 15.11.2017 to the recipients by way of commensurate reduction in the prices of the products being sold by them in terms of Section 171 of the CGST Act, 2017.
It is evident that the above narration of the facts that the Respondents have denied benefit of rate reduction to the buyers of their SKUs in contravention of the provisions of Section 171 (1) of the CGST Act, 2017 and they have thus resorted to profiteering. Hence, they have committed an offence for violation of the provisions of Section 171 (1) during the period from 15.11.2017 to 30.09.2018 and therefore, they are apparently liable for imposition of penalty under the provisions of Section 171 (3A) of the above Act. However, perusal of the provisions of Section 171 (3A) under which penalty has been prescribed for the above violation shows that it has been inserted in the CGST Act, 2017 w.e.f. 01.01.2020 vide Section 112 of the Finance Act, 2019 and it was not in operation during the period from 15.11.2017 to 30.09.2018 when the Respondents had committed the above violation and hence, the penalty prescribed under Section 171 (3A) cannot be imposed on the Respondents retrospectively. Accordingly, notice for imposition of penalty is not required to be issued to the Respondents.