No. PR- 227
February 19, 2021
Reasons to believe, for conducting search & seizures under GST should not be fanciful or arbitrary
“Reasons to believe, for conducting search and seizures under GST should be based on reasonable material and should not be fanciful or arbitrary”, said Mr. Bimal Jain, Chairman, Indirect Taxes Committee at a Webinar on Constitutional Validity of Search, Seizure and Arrest in GST – Cautions and Precautions organized by PHD Chamber here today. He shared that while conducting search and seizures, there have been numerous interventions of gross abuse of power by GST officers and they record the statement of assessee through force and coercion to put allegations on taxable person.
He also cited that recently, the Gujarat High Court has pulled up the GST officials for their alleged pressure tactics to achieve tax collection targets and made a sarcastic remark about Gujarat being one of the top states in GST collections in the country. It is important to trust the taxable persons. In all fairness, it is good to safeguard Government’s legitimate dues, and protect the interest of genuine taxpayers, but it should not be at the cost of genuine taxpayers’.
He further deliberated when inspection, search and seizure can be initiated; What are the Offences termed as – Bailable & Non Bailable; What are the Penalty & Imprisonment provisions; Legal Jurisprudence on Search, Seizure and Arrests provisions under GST.
Speaking at the Session, Mr. Pradeep Multani, Senior Vice President, PHD Chamber lauded the government legislative methods to mitigate the effects of tax evasion. He apprised the members that the provisions for arrests are created to tackle the situations raised by some unscrupulous tax evaders. He stated that these provisions may appear very harsh but are necessary for efficient tax administration and also act as a deterrent and instil a sense of discipline. He felt that it is equally important that that the provisions relating to search, seizure and arrest are not mis-used by those in position of power. Any sort of coercive and pressurizing behaviour cannot be justified in name of search and seizures under the provisions of GST.
Eminent speakers who deliberated on the different aspects Legal Jurisprudence on Search and Seizure; Constitutional validity of Search & Seizure by both CGST & SGST Authorities; Legal Jurisprudence of Coercive actions by the Department during Search & Seizure and collection of tax revenue, among others included Mr. V. Lakshmikumaran, Founder & Managing Partner, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan; Mr. J K Mittal, Advocate, Supreme Court of India; Mr. Sudipta Bhattcharjee, Partner, Khaitan & Co and Mr. Saket Patawari, Executive Director, Nexdigm (SKP). The session was moderated by Mr. R Sridhar, Consulting Editor, TIOL.
PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry