Revision Mechanism Under GST
The GST Laws provides for the mechanism of revision by the Revisional Authority (RA) of the orders passed by its subordinate officers. The same are detailed under Section 108 of CGST Act, 2017.
(1) The Revisional Authority, on his own motion, or upon information received by him or on request from the Commissioner of SGST/UTGST, or on observation by the C&G of India, may stay operation of any decision or order passed by his subordinates, if he considers it as erroneous, prejudicial to the interest of revenue, illegal or improper and after giving the adversely affected person a notice in Form RVN-01 and an opportunity of being heard, pass such order in Form APL-04, as he thinks just and proper, including enhancing or modifying or annulling the said decision or order.
(2) The Revisional Authority shall not exercise any power if the order is under appeal; or, within a period of six months and beyond a limitation period of three years; or, if the order has already been taken for revision at an earlier stage; or, a revisional order. The Revisional Authority may pass an order on any point which has not been raised and decided in an appeal, before the expiry of a period of one year from the date of the order in such appeal or before the expiry of a period of three years of the impugned order whichever is later.
(3) Every order passed in revision under sub-section (1) shall, subject to the provisions of section 112(appellate to Tribunal) or section 117(appeal to High Court) or section 118(appeal to Supreme Court), be final and binding on the parties.
(4) If the impugned order involves an issue on which the Appellate Tribunal or the High Court has given its decision in some other proceedings and an appeal to the High Court or the Supreme Court against such decision of the Appellate Tribunal or the High Court is pending, the period spent between the date of the decision of the Appellate Tribunal and the date of the decision of the High Court/Supreme Court shall be excluded in computing the period of limitation of three years under sub-section (2).
(5) Where the issuance of an order under sub-section (1) is stayed by the order of a court or Appellate Tribunal, the period of such stay shall be excluded in computing the period of limitation of three years under sub-section (2).
Time limit to approach the GST Revisional Authority
The Revisional Authority cannot take up any matter where more than three years have passed since the date of the order/decision. Further, where the Revisional Authority seeks to pass an order in respect to any point not raised and subject to an appeal before the Appellate Authority, Appellate Tribunal, High Court or Supreme Court, the time limit for the Revisional Authority is one year from the date of such order. Hence, the Revisional Authority needs to be approached within this time limit.
However, in the computation of this limit, where the decision/order sought to be revised involves an issue in which the Appellate Tribunal or the High Court has given its decision in some other proceedings and an appeal to the High Court or the Supreme Court against such decision of the Appellate Tribunal or High Court is pending, the following period spent shall not be taken into consideration:
Between the date of the decision of the Appellate Tribunal and the date of the decision of the High Court; or Between the date of the decision of the High Court and the date of the decision of the Supreme Court.
However, the field formations are nowadays resorting to revision of the orders of the first appellate authorities also, particularly in case of refunds. The refund claims are normally subject to some kind of scrutiny at the level of Assistant/Deput Commissioners and as a result of the same, notices get issued. Once the issues are not amicably resolved the order-in-original is appealed against by the assessee with the first appellate authority, Joint Commissioner. Once the order-in-appeal is made considering the submissions of the assessee, the authorities are to grant the refund on those heads which are appealed against by the assessee in obedience to the appellate order in favour of the assessee.
However the department is resorting to the time lines of six months to three years from the order to exercise their powers of revision and thereby continuing the uncertainty on these refunds for some more time. But as the law it stands, the original orders only are to be taken up for revision and not those in appeal as Sec 108(2)(a) clearly prohibits such an action.
But the Additional Commissioners, who were designated as Revisional authorities by the respective GST Commissioners are exercising such revisionary powers against the first appellate authority’s orders also as the first appellate authorities happen to be junior in rank to them and they do not want to go by the prohibition under the law under the impression that order includes appellate order passed by their subordinate. But the law has been designed in such a way that once the order has been subjected to a secondary level examination in appeal, it should not be subjected to revision again and the matter should get finalized unless the department resorts to a normal appeal mechanism instead of revision route. It is time that the SGST authorities need to clarify the position in the interests of trade whether revision can be resorted to against the first appeal orders also under Sec 108 of CGST Act, 2017.