The petitioner is entitled to have a copy of the Scrutiny Report prepared by the third respondent so that they can submit their final reply.
The court does not agree with the contention of the department that the verification exercise undertaken by the third respondent is an integral part of the adjudication process.
Section 73 of Finance Act, 1994 — Show Cause Notice – Non Supply of Verification Report---The petitioner was issued SCN by the first respondent u/s 73(1) of Finance Act, 1994, together with interest and penalty. The petitioner contended that there are certain basic errors in the SCN and requested for a verification exercise. The third respondent undertook a verification exercise and prepared a Scrutiny Report/Verification Report. The petitioner requested the first respondent to furnish them with a copy of the Scrutiny Report prepared by the third respondent, so that they can submit their final reply, which was denied by the first respondent. The respondent submitted that the verification process undertaken by the third respondent is an integral part of the adjudication process. It would not be open to the petitioner to ask for a copy of the same. He relied on the decision reported in Sheer Gold Pvt Ltd., Vs. Commissioner of Customs (AIR) Chennai, wherein, the Honourable Division Bench held that the assessee cannot stall the adjudication proceedings on the ground that the relied-on documents have not been supplied as he can challenge the final order on the same ground after the adjudication order is passed. The court observed that if the report in question is not furnished to the petitioner and if an adverse order based on the said report is passed, then the adjudication would be set aside on that sole ground.
Held that:- The Hon’ble High Court allowed the writ petition and directed the first respondent to make available the Scrutiny report submitted by the third respondent to the petitioner. The petitioner would submit their final reply within four weeks and will take part in the personal hearing.