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High court allowed request of petitioner for exemption from personal hearing because of the prevalent pandemic situation, the matter will be heard afresh with a personal hearing after the pandemic situation eases and the restrictions are lifted on the movement of men and material etc.

COVID-19Pandemic Situation due to COVID-19— Limitation Period – The petitioner an industry, based at Pune submitted that a notice issued by the respondent. The petitioner requested respondent for exemption from personal hearing, because of the prevalent pandemic situation. Further, they could not file reply as they had no opportunity to coordinate with their offices, which were situated in other States and because of the prevalent situation. All the requests for adjournment were refused and that the order and the penalty order were also passed without hearing the petitioner. The petitioner submitted that the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has extended the period of limitation in all matters and therefore, the apprehension of the respondents that unless a consequential order is passed, within three years from the date of original order, the same will not be valid, is not a correct interpretation.
The Court observed that respondent has disagreed with the order passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. Further, observed that the order passed by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India is binding on all the citizens/Tribunals/Courts of this country, including those exercising Quasi Judicial functions.

Held that:- The Hon’ble High Court allowed the petition and set aside order dated 17.04.2020 and the consequential order 23.04.2020. The Court further directed that respondent to issue notice after the pandemic situation eases. Also directed the petitioner to use the interim period to prepare his counter and also his objections to the extent possible. — Walchandnagar Industries Limited Vs. Commercial Tax Officer [2020] 24 TAXLOK.COM 010 (Telangana)