Section 67 to 71 of  CGST ACT,2017 explains the circumstances where in search, seizure and arrest can be done.

Inspection and search and seizure [Section -67]

i ] where taxable person suppressed supply of goods or service or both or stock of goods in hand or claim input credit in excess in contravention of the provision of this act .

ii]  Where any person engage in the business of transport or goods or owner of godown of warehouse which has escaped assessment or evasion of tax.

Under these situation officer not below the rank of joint commissioner or officer authorise by him to do  inspection of premises.

2] where the proper officer feels that any goods liable to be confiscated , or documents or books or things may seize as per the requirement. Where in it is not possible to seize goods , he may serve notice on owner not to remove the goods till further order . such order may be passed on INS-03.

3] where any goods , books or document referred to 2. above shall be returned by him within 30 days.

4]  The officer authorised under sub-section (2) shall have the power to seal or break open the door of any premises or to break open any almirah, electronic devices, box, receptacle in which any goods, accounts, registers or documents of the person are suspected to be concealed, where access to such premises, almirah, electronic devices, box or receptacle is denied.

Seizure under GST

5] the person to whose custody any documents are seized shall be entitled to take extracts or copy of the same from the officer . except where taking copies or extract may be prejudicially to the investigation.

6]  Goods so seized will be released on payment of Bond or security equivalent on taxes , interests and penalty. Such order shall be passed on INS -04

7]  goods seized under sub clause -2 shall be return to person after six months if no notice of the same is issued. However on sufficient cause that may be exceeded to another six month.

8] However if the goods is of perishable or hazardous nature , the proper officer may also dispose of the goods. Such order may be placed on INS -05.

9] in any event of the situation mentioned in clause -8,  the proper officer will prepared inventory of the goods so sold.

10 ]  The provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, relating to search and seizure, shall, so far as may be, apply to search and seizure under this section subject to the modification that sub-section (5) of section 165 of the said Code shall have effect as if for the word “Magistrate”, wherever it occurs, the word “Commissioner” were substituted Inspection of goods in movements[ S.68 ]

1] Govt. may  hold any person in charge of any conveyance of goods valuing as be prescribed along with the documents .

2]  documents shall be validated in such manner as be prescribed.

3]  Where any conveyance referred to in sub-section (1) is intercepted by the proper officer at any place, he may require the person in charge of the said conveyance to produce  the documents prescribed under the said sub-section and devices for verification, and the said person shall be liable to produce the documents and devices and also allow the inspection of goods.

Arrest under GST

Power to arrest [S.69]

1]  Where the commissioner is convinced that the person has committed any offence under section 132[1] and it is punishable offence, he may arrest the person.

2] where the person so arrested under clause no .I for an offence committed u/s 132[5] he shall be produced before Magistrate with 24 hours.

3] subject to provision of civil court 1973

a] under sub-section (4) of section 132, he shall be admitted to bail or in default of bail, forwarded to the custody of the Magistrate;

(b) in the case of a non-cognizable and bailable offence, the Deputy Commissioner or the Assistant Commissioner shall, for the purpose of releasing an arrested person on bail or otherwise, have the same powers and be subject to the same provisions as an officer-in-charge of a police station

Power to summons and produce evidence and produce documents [ Section 70 ] 

(1) The proper officer under this Act shall have power to summon any person whose attendance he considers necessary either to give evidence or to produce a document or any other thing in any inquiry in the same manner, as provided in the case of a civil court under the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

(2) Every such inquiry referred to in sub-section (1) shall be deemed to be a “judicial proceedings” within the meaning of section 193 and section 228 of the Indian Penal Code.

Access to Business Premises Section -71 

1] Any officer or as authorized not below the rank of Joint Commissioner , shall excess the business premises of registered dealer and inspect books of account , documents  , computer etc. for the purpose of carry out , verification , scrutiny to safe guard the revenue. As per Rule 139 , he may issue INS -01 to authorize any officer to conduct the inspection. Where any document to be seizure, authorize officer may order of INS -02

2] every person charge of the place of work on demand make available to the officer authorised or to the audit party under Section -66.

i]  the proper officer in such manner as may be prescribed;

(ii) trial balance or its equivalent;

(iii) statements of annual financial accounts, duly audited, wherever required;

(iv) cost audit report, if any, under section 148 of the Companies Act, 2013;

(v) the income-tax audit report, if any, under section 44AB of the Income-tax Act, 1961;

and

(vi) any other relevant record

About the Author: Author is  Sr. Partner of   G R A N D M A R K & ASSOCIATES , Chartered Accountants in  Gurugram [ Haryana]  and Domain Head of  GST Department of GMA  . He can be reached at  sanjeev.singhal@grandmarkca.com.  WWW. grandmarkca.com

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