No. PR – 183
January 6, 2022
Power of Search, Seizure & Arrest should not be done in casual manner by GST official: PHD Chamber
In continuation of pursuit to provide real time knowledge platform to educate and keep the industry abreast on the continuous issues evolving in GST and to help the industry tide over the intricacies involved in the GST Laws and procedures, the Indirect Taxes Committee and Uttarakhand Chapter of PHD Chamber has organized the Webinar on Burning Issues in Summon, Search, Seizure and Arrest under GST (Uttarakhand Edition) on 6th January, 2022, Thursday at 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
Mr. Bimal Jain, Chairman, Indirect Taxes Committee, PHD Chamber, stated that the GST Authorities are issuing summons in a casual manner and directly at the level of CEO and CFO of the companies. In this regard, he opined that the summons must be issued as a last resort and GST authorities should refrain from calling on information and documentation already provided or uploaded by companies online. He further stated that power of search and seizure comes with reason to believe and should be exercised by the GST official in true letter and spirit. Further, highlighted that arrest provisions to be used as an exception and custodial interrogation should not be violative of Article 21 of Right to Life and Personal Liberty. Even recovery and provisional attachment provisions are to be used only when there is genuine reason to protect Government revenues and should not be used in regular and mechanical manner.
Also, to prevent custodial torture and to ensure that there is fairness and no abuse of power during the investigation, the Hon’ble SC in the case of Paramvir Singh Saini v. Baljit Singh & Others [Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 3543 of 2020 dated December 2, 2020] directed installation of CCTV- Camera at investigation agencies offices and police stations.
It has to be kept in mind that the search, seizure, arrest does not only affect the business of the taxpayer but is also a stigma on one’s reputation, it ruins the person mentally and physically.
Lots of litigation in GST is on account of interpretation of GST Laws should not be termed as suppression in casual mode by the GST authorities.
Mr. Hemant Kochar, Chairman, Uttarakhand Chapter, PHD Chamber, stated that the provisions for Search, Seizure and Arrest are burning provisions and basically provided to protect the interest of genuine taxpayers and as a deterrent for tax evasion. He opined that the focus is required on enhancing ease of doing business, reducing cost of doing business, creating a level playing field and ensuring timely justice.
Mr. Pawan Arora, Co-Chair, Indirect Taxes Committee, PHD Chamber & Partner at Athena Law Associates, stated that the administration structure post GST was supposed to be based on the principle of pooled sovereignty, mutual co-operation, cross reporting, meaningful control.
Mr. Dharnendra K. Rana, Partner, Nitya Tax Associates explained the Legal Jurisprudence on Search and Seizure & the Constitutional validity of Search, Seizure and Arrest provisions under GST. He further mentioned that the taxpayer must ensure to identify officer before entering premises; officer carrying the search warrant; two independent witnesses accompanying officer; taxpayer can take photocopy of seized documents; if anything seized, officer must issue seizure order and officer prepares panchnama. He explained envisage procedural aspects of Inspection, Search and Seizure. He further mentioned the provisions, consequences of non-appearance and guidelines for issue of summons under the power of summon (section 70). He also explained the section 69(1) and 132 (1) of CGST act of Power to arrest under GST.
Ms. Geetika Shrivastava, Executive Partner, TATTVAM Advisor in her presentation discussed the provisional attachment of property or bank account; rights & responsibilities during search proceedings and payment during investigations. She further explained legal provisions under GST Law and pendency of proceedings under specified sections. Moreover, she mentioned that Finance Bill 2021 proposed few amendments aim to expand the scope of Section 83 and eventually increase number of litigations.
The Webinar concluded with an extensive discussion of more than 2 hours with the participation of more than 70 delegates. PHDCCI’s session was supported by A2Z Taxcorp; Nitya Tax Associates; Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan attorneys; Athena Law Associates; TATTVAM Advisor; and IRIS Legal.
The webinar was also supported by PHDCCI Annual Sponsors such as, Multani Pharmaceuticals Ltd; Star Wire ;P G Industry; Uflex Ltd; DLF Ltd; Continental Carriers Pvt Ltd; Belair Travel & Cargo Pvt Ltd; Radico Khaitan Ltd; Crystal Crop Protection Ltd; Paramount Communications; Superior Industries Ltd; JK Tyre & Industries Ltd; Comtech Interio; R E Rogers; AYUSH Herbs Private Ltd; Apeejay Stya Group; DCM Shriram; EaseMyTrip; Blossom Kochhar Beauty Products Pvt Ltd; MV Cotspin Ltd; Synergy Environics Ltd; Ajit Industries Pvt Ltd; P S BEDI & Co.; Indian Farmer & Fertilizers Corporation Ltd; Jindal Steel; Hindware Sanitary; Modern Automobiles; Livit Ltd.; Axa Parenteras Pvt. Ltd. ; Bhagwati Plastic and Pipes Industries.
Glimpse of the Webinar:
First Row: Mr. Hemant Kochar; Mr. Bimal Jain; Mr. Dharnendra K. Rana; Ms. Geetika Shrivastava
Second Row: Mr. Pawan Arora; Dr. S P Sharma; Dr. Yogesh Srivastav, Mr. Nanda Gangadhar Mishra
PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry