The Orissa High Court has called upon appellate authorities to condone the delay in filing a certified copy of the order appealed against along with appeal by GST-related litigants as long as the restricted functioning of courts and tribunals due to the Covid-19 continues.
The court said the appellate authority should condone the delay in filing such certified copy when the appeal is accompanied by an ordinary downloaded copy of the order appealed against, verified as a true copy by the advocate for the appellant.
The call came on Monday while setting aside an order issued by the Additional Commissioner of State Tax (Appeal), Balasore. In the order, the appeal filed by M/s Shree Jagannath Traders was rejected on grounds of delay in filing the certified copy.
It was also brought to the attention of the court that in other similar matters, the appellate authority had also declined to condone the delay in the appellants filing a certified copy of the order appealed against after filing a downloaded copy.
The two-judge bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice KR Mohapatra said, “This is a case of substantial compliance and the interests of justice ought not to be constrained by a hyper-technical view of the requirement that a certified copy of the order appealed against should be submitted within one week of the filing of the appeal.”
“The difficulties faced by lawyers and litigants in the Covid affected times, where the functioning of courts and tribunals is limited in applying for and obtaining certified copies of orders is generally known. Acknowledging this reality, the explanation offered for the delay in furnishing such certified copy ought to have been accepted by the appellate authority and the delay in that regard ought to have been condoned,” the bench observed.