Judgment Update | High Court is bound to follow statutory limitation period

by | May 27, 2020 | Insight

This is to apprise you on recent decision of Supreme Court in the case of Assistant Commissioner (CT) LTU v. Glaxo Smith Kline Consumer Health Care Limited, 2020-VIL-18-SC. Vide this decision, the Supreme Court held that while exercising writ jurisdiction, High Court is not empowered to condone delay in filing statutory appeal beyond limitation period prescribed under a statute.

The relevant facts of the case, decision taken and our analysis of the same have been outlined hereunder:

Brief facts

  • In this case, assessment orders dated June 21, 2017 (‘assessment order’) were passed against the taxpayer under the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Value Added Tax Act, 2005 (‘APVAT Act’) and the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956 (‘CST Act’). The assessment order raised demand for failure to submit Form ‘F’.  An employee of the taxpayer received the assessment order on June 22, 2017.
  • Section 31 of the APVAT Act stipulates filing of an appeal to appellate authority within 30 days (including additional 30 days condonation period) of the communication of order.
  • The taxpayer filed appeal against this order on September 24, 2018 which was dismissed by the Appellate Authority as time barred.
  • Being aggrieved by the dismissal, the taxpayer preferred Writ Petition before the High Court seeking directions to the Appellate Authority to admit the appeal.
  • The High Court took note that the employee who was in charge of tax matters was subsequently suspended in contemplation of disciplinary proceedings due to which the taxpayer could not file statutory appeal within the prescribed time limit. Basis this, the Court allowed the Writ Petition and remanded the matter for fresh adjudication.
  • Being aggrieved, the department preferred this appeal before the Supreme Court.


The Supreme Court decided the issue in favour of department and set aside the High Court’s order basis the following rationale:

  • The High Court is not empowered to exercise writ jurisdiction when an effective alternative remedy is available.
  • The High Court cannot issue a writ inconsistent with the statutory provisions.
  • The condonation of time beyond the time-limit prescribed under a statute should be based on fundamental or general issues of public policy to achieve justice which were clearly absent in the present case.
  • The rejection of appeal filed beyond the statutory time period without sufficient cause for delay, is not a case of violation of fundamental right.

NITYA Comments: 

The Supreme Court correctly held that High Courts in exercise of its writ jurisdiction, should not have directed the Appellate Authority to admit appeal beyond time limit prescribed by the statute in the absence of violation of any fundamental right or principles of natural justice.