Simplified GST Series –Miscellaneous –Section 151-158/CGST ACT 2017

Article analyses Section 151- Power to Collect Statistics,  Section 152-Bar on disclosure of information,  Section 153- Taking assistance from an expert,  Section 154- Power to take samples,  Section 155- Burden of Proof,  Section 156- Persons deemed to be public servants, Section 157-Protection of action taken under this Act and Section 158- Disclosure of information by a public servant.

Section 151- Power to Collect Statistics

(1) The Commissioner may, if he considers that it is necessary so to do, by notification, direct that statistics may be collected relating to any matter dealt with by or in connection with this Act.

(2) Upon such notification being issued, the Commissioner, or any person authorised by him in this behalf, may call upon the concerned persons to furnish such information or returns, in such form and manner as may be prescribed, relating to any matter in respect of which statistics is to be collected.

 Analysis- The Commissioner may, by way of a notification, direct collection of statistics for the purpose of better administration of the Act.

  •  After issuance of such notification, the Commissioner or any person authorised by Commissioner in this regard may call all concerned persons to furnish such information or return relating to any matter in respect of which statistics is being collected.

Section 152-Bar on disclosure of information

Section 152 discusses about the way in which the information obtained under Sections 150 and 151 needs to be handled. 

  • Any information obtained shall not be published so as to enable any particulars to be identified as referring to a particular taxpayer, without the previous consent of the tax payer or his authorised representative. This consent should be in writing. Further the information so obtained shall not be used for the purpose of any proceedings under this Act. 
  • Any person who is engaged in connection with collection of statistics under Section 151 or compilation or computerisation wilfully discloses any information or contents of any return under this Section, or otherwise in execution of his duties shall be punished with imprisonment or fine or both in terms of section 133.
  •  Imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or fine which may extend to Rs 25000 or with both.

Section 153- Taking assistance from an expert

Section 153 enables the Officer not below the rank of an Assistant Commissioner to take assistance of an expert at any stage of scrutiny, inquiry, investigation or any proceedings. This section will enable the Officer to take assistance of experts like IT professional, Lawyer, Technocrat, Chartered Accountants etc. considering the nature and complexity of the case and revenue’s interest.

 Section 154- Power to take samples

The Commissioner or an officer authorised by him may take samples of goods from the possession of any taxable person, where he considers it necessary, and provide a receipt for any samples so taken.

Analysis- Sample of any goods may be drawn by the Commissioner or any officer who is authorised by him. Once the samples are drawn, the officer should provide a receipt for the same.

Section 155- Burden of Proof

Where any person claims that he is eligible for input tax credit under this Act, the burden of proving such claim shall lie on such person

Analysis- This provision places the burden on the taxable person to prove his input tax claims.

 Section 156- Persons deemed to be public servants

All persons discharging functions under this Act shall be deemed to be public servants within the meaning of section 21 of the Indian Penal Code.

Analysis- As the persons discharging official functions are deemed to be public servants, any offences against such persons and offences by such persons would be dealt with in accordance with IPC.

Section 157-Protection of action taken under this Act

(1) No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against the President, State President, Members, officers or other employees of the Appellate Tribunal or any other person authorised by the said Appellate Tribunal for anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done under this Act or the rules made thereunder.

(2) No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against any officer appointed or authorised under this Act for anything which is done or intended to be done in good faith under this Act or the rules made thereunder.

Analysis- This Section protects the GST officers and officers of GST Tribunal from legal proceedings in respect of acts done in good faith.

Section 158- Disclosure of information by a public servant

  • This Section lays down the guidelines for non-disclosure of information obtained during the course of any proceeding and the situations when such information can be disclosed.
  • Non-disclosure – The following shall be kept confidential and should not be disclosed:

— All details contained in any statement / returns / accounts / documents which are submitted as per the Act.

— All details contained in any evidence given during any proceeding under the Act or in any record of proceedings under the Act

Exceptions to non –disclosure- The following details can be disclosed:

  • The following details can be disclosed:

√ Required under other law

√  for verification purposes

√  for service of notice / demand

√  for Civil Court / Tribunal proceeding

√  for Audit purposes

√  for inquiry on any GST Officer

√  to levy or realise tax / duty

√  to conduct inquiry on professionals

√  for publication in public interest

Queries /doubts related to above at mamta0581@gmail.com

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