Simplified GST Series- Offenses & penalties/Section 130-131/CGST ACT 2017

Article explains Section 130-Confiscation of goods or conveyances and levy of penalty and Section 131- Confiscation or penalty not to interfere with other punishments.

Section 130-Confiscation of goods or conveyances and levy of penalty-

(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, if any person –

(i) supplies or receives any goods in contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or the rules made thereunder with intent to evade payment of tax; or

(ii) does not account for any goods on which he is liable to pay tax under this Act; or

(iii) supplies any goods liable to tax under this Act without having applied for registration; or

(iv) contravenes any of the provisions of this Act or the rules made thereunder with intent to evade payment of tax; or

(v) uses any conveyance as a means of transport for carriage of goods in contravention of the provisions of this Act or rules made thereunder unless the owner of the conveyance proves that it was so used without the knowledge or connivance of the owner himself, his agent, if any, and the person in charge of the conveyance, then, all such goods or conveyances shall be liable to confiscation and the person shall be liable to penalty under section 122.

Analysis-This section provides for specific situations or causes leading to confiscation of goods/Conveyances.

There are five precise causes for confiscation of goods and/ or conveyances specified in this section and they are:

Action Consequence
Supply or receive goods in contravention of the provisions of this Act or rules made thereunder Resulting in actual evasion of tax
Not accounting for goods Carrying a liability for payment of tax
Supply of goods liable to tax Without applying for registration
Contravention of the provisions of Act or rules made thereunder With intent to evade payment of tax
Use of conveyance as a means of transport for carriage of goods In contravention of the Act or rules made thereunder

In all the above cases, goods or conveyance shall be liable for confiscation. However, the conveyance shall not be confiscated where the owner of the conveyance proves that it is without the connivance of owner himself, his agent or person in charge of the conveyance. Further, the person shall be liable to pay penalty under section 122 of the Act.

(2) Whenever confiscation of any goods or conveyance is authorized by this Act, the officer adjudging it shall give to the owner of the goods an option to pay in lieu of confiscation, such fine as the said officer thinks fit:

Provided that such fine leviable shall not exceed the market value of the goods confiscated, less the tax chargeable thereon:

Provided further that the aggregate of such fine and penalty leviable shall not be less than the amount of penalty leviable under sub-section (1) of section 129:

Provided also that where any such conveyance is used for the carriage of the goods or passengers for hire, the owner of the conveyance shall be given an option to pay in lieu of the confiscation of the conveyance a fine equal to the tax payable on the goods being transported thereon.

(3) Where any fine in lieu of confiscation of goods or conveyance is imposed under sub-section (2), the owner of such goods or conveyance or the person referred to in sub-section (1), shall, in addition, be liable to any tax, penalty and charges payable in respect of such goods or conveyance.

(4) No order for confiscation of goods or conveyance or for imposition of penalty shall be issued without giving the person an opportunity of being heard.

(5) Where any goods or conveyance are confiscated under this Act, the title of such goods or conveyance shall thereupon vest in the Government.

(6) The proper officer adjudging confiscation shall take and hold possession of the things confiscated and every officer of Police, on the requisition of such proper officer, shall assist him in taking and holding such possession.

(7) The proper officer may, after satisfying himself that the confiscated goods or conveyance are not required in any other proceedings under this Act and after giving reasonable time not exceeding three months to pay fine in lieu of confiscation, dispose of such goods or conveyances and deposit the sale proceeds thereof with the Government.

Analysis-

  • If the goods or conveyance are liable to be confiscated under the provisions of this Act, the proper officer shall give the owner of the goods an option to pay fine in lieu of confiscation.
  • The amount of fine shall not exceed the market value of goods as reduced by the amount of tax payable thereon. However, at the same time aggregate of fine and penalty leviable shall not be less than the amount of penalty as leviable under section 129(1). While section 129 is applicable on transporters also, section 130 primarily covers the owner.
  • Where the conveyance is used for transportation of goods or passengers on hire, the owner of the conveyance shall be given an option to pay in lieu of confiscation of the conveyance a fine equal to amount of tax payable on the goods transported on his conveyance. It is worthwhile to note that the amount of fine payable is in addition to any tax, penalty and other charges payable on confiscated goods or conveyance.
  • The order for confiscation cannot be issued without giving the person an opportunity of being heard.
  • The title of the confiscated goods or conveyance shall be vested upon the Government.
  • If the proper officer is satisfied that the confiscated goods/ conveyance are not required for any other proceedings under the Act, then he shall after giving reasonable time not exceeding 3 months to pay fine in lieu of confiscation, dispose the goods and deposit the sale proceeds with the Government.

Section 131- Confiscation or penalty not to interfere with other punishments-

Without prejudice to the provisions contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), no confiscation made or penalty imposed under the provisions of this Act or the rules made thereunder shall prevent the infliction of any other punishment to which the person affected thereby is liable under the provisions of this Act or under any other law for the time being in force.

AnalysisThis section provides that in addition to confiscation of goods or penalty already imposed, all/ any other proceedings may also be initiated or continued under the GST law or any other law, as applicable. This could be prosecution, arrest, cancellation of registration etc., as applicable and provided for the relevant non-compliance. Therefore, for the same offence both penalty and punishment can be levied.

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