E-way bill for inter-state transportation of goods (Landmark Decision by Kerala High Court)

E-way bill for inter-state transportation of goods (Landmark Decision by Kerala High Court)

Transportation of goods from one state to another requires e-way bill till the destination, even if the goods were shifted from vehicle to another at the destination state.

UP and UP Elevators Vs State of Kerala (Kerala High Court)

WP(C). No. 1441 of 2021(E)

Date of order: 19-01-2021

Facts of the case

A partnership firm, the petitioner, in Kerala was transporting goods from Bangalore, Karnataka to Cherthala, Kerala. The goods were transported by a transporter agency under the cover of valid invoice and e-way bill on 11-01-2021. The goods were loaded to the transporting vehicle and the was transported. The goods reached Ernakulam, Kerala, where it was transferred to a different transporting vehicle. The vehicle enroute to the destination was stopped by the GST authorities on 15-01-2021 and the documents were called for. The documents included the original invoice and the e-way bill dated 11-01-2021.

The GST officials, after verification of documents, found out that the e-way bill was expired on 14-01-2021 itself and the goods were in transportation on 15-01-2021. The goods were detained by the GST officials for violation of the provisions of Rule 138(8) of the CGST Rules, i.e., transportation of goods without a valid e-way bill.

Judgement by Court

The matter was taken to the court by the petitioner firm who filed a Writ Petition before the Hon. High Court of Kerala. The petitioner contended that the goods were being transported in a separate vehicle from Ernakulam to Cherthala, two places in the State of Kerala itself. As the distance between the place of origin, Ernakulam and the place of destination, Cherthala was less than 50 kms, no e-way bill is mandatory by the provisions of Rule 138(5). Hence the notice issued by the authorities under Sec 129(3) is invalid.

The Hon. High Court of Kerala, however, held that the above contention of the petitioner firm is not correct. The goods were being transported from Bangalore, Karnataka to Cherthala, Kerala, making it ‘inter-state movement of goods’. Thus, the provisions mandates the requirement of a valid e-way bill for movement of goods. The contention that the provisions of Rule 138(8) is not applicable, is not correct. Also, the provisions of Rule 138(5) does not have any relevance in this scenario.

Accordingly, the High Court dismissed the Writ Petition filed by the firm, and ordered in favour of the department.

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