Allahabad HC: No penalty for carrying e-invoice without signature absent challenge to EWB-authenticity

Allahabad HC quashes the penalty imposed u/s 129(3) of the CGST Act for carrying e-invoice without the signatures of authorised signatory, underscores the statutory scheme that as per fifth proviso to Rule 46 of the CGST Rules, 2017 “the requirement of signatures is dispensed with as regards digital invoice”; Noting that not only the driver of vehicle carrying the goods was carrying e-invoice and e-way bill (EWB) in his mobile, but at the time of interception by Mobile Squads, the representative of assessee also reached and produced hard copies of same documents, and therefore, “there was no cause for detention, seizure or imposition of the penalty as has been done by the authorities in this case.”; Emphasizing on the responsibility of the Revenue to verify digital copies, the court notes the failure of the Revenue to do so when digital copies were produced and remarks “revenue cannot fasten the penalty upon the tax payers for its own default.”; Additionally, rejecting Revenue’s argument that making payment of penalty precludes assessee to appeal against penalty, HC cites the Kerala HC decision in Hindustan Steel & Cement, affirming that “the mere fact that the assessee has made payment will not disentitle him for carrying the order  imposing the penalty in appeal”