The Supreme Court in the case Godrej Sara Lee Ltd. vs Excise and Taxation Officer Cum Assessing Authority observed and has dismissed a writ petition on the ground of alternative remedy without examining whether an exceptional case has been made out for such entertainment. The bench comprising of Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Dipankar Datta in the case observed that where there being the controversy is a purely legal one and it does not involve disputed questions of fact but only questions of law, then it should be decided by the high court instead of dismissing the writ petition on the ground of an alternative remedy being available.
In the present case, the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed the writ petition filed with relegating the petitioner to the remedy of an appeal under section 33 of the Haryana Value Added Tax Act, 2003. Therefore, it has been questioned by the writ petitioner the jurisdiction of the Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner (ST)-cumRevisional Authority to reopen proceedings, in exercise of suo motu revisional power conferred by section 34 of the Value Added Tax Act. Before the Apex Court, some of the issues which were being raised was whether the High Court was justified in declining interference on the ground of availability of an alternative remedy of appeal to the appellant under section 33 of the Value Added Tax Act, 2005?
It has been noted by the bench while answering the said issue that the said court came across many orders passed by the high courts holding writ petitions as “not maintainable” merely because the alternative remedy is being provided by the relevant statutes and it has not been pursued by the parties desirous of invocation of the writ jurisdiction. At the outset, the court stated that the mere availability of an alternative remedy would not oust the writ jurisdiction and the Entertainability” and “maintainability” of a writ petition both being the distinct concepts. It has also been noted by the bench that in this writ petition, a jurisdictional issue was raised while questioning the very competence of the Revisional Authority to exercise suo motu power.
The court observed that it being a pure question of law, this court is of the considered view that the plea raised in the writ petition did deserve a consideration on merits and the appellant’s writ petition ought not to have been thrown out at the threshold, the bench observed. A c c o r d i n g l y, t h e c o u r t c o n s i d e r e d the matter and has allowed the writ petition quashing the impugned order passed by the Revisional Authority.