CHAPTER- XVIII

INSPECTION, SEARCH, SEIZURE AND ARREST

79. Power of inspection, search and seizure

(1) Where the CGST/SGST officer, not below the rank of Joint Commissioner, has reasons to believe that –

(a) a taxable person has suppressed any transaction relating to supply of goods and/or services or the stock of goods in hand, or has claimed input tax credit in excess of his entitlement under the Act or has indulged in contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or rules made thereunder to evade tax under this Act; or

(b) any person engaged in the business of transporting goods or an owner or operator of a warehouse or a godown or any other place is keeping goods which have escaped payment of tax or has kept his accounts or goods in such a manner as is likely to cause evasion of tax payable under this Act,

he may authorize in writing any other officer of CGST/SGST to inspect any places of business of the taxable person or the persons engaged in the business of transporting goods or the owner or the operator of warehouse or godown or any other place.

(2) Where the CGST/SGST officer, not below the rank of Joint Commissioner, either pursuant to an inspection carried out under sub-section (1) or otherwise, has reasons to believe that any goods liable to confiscation or any documents or books or things, which in his opinion shall be useful for or relevant to any proceedings under this Act, are secreted in any place, he may authorize in writing any other CGST/SGST officer to search and seize or may himself search and seize such goods, documents, books or things:

PROVIDED that where it is not practicable to seize any such goods, the proper officer may serve on the owner or the custodian of the goods an order that he shall not remove, part with, or otherwise deal with the goods except with the previous permission of such officer:

PROVIDED FURTHER that the documents or books or things so seized shall be retained by such officer only for so long as may be necessary for their examination and for any inquiry or proceeding under this Act.

(3) The documents, books or things referred to in sub-section (2) or any other documents, books or things produced by a taxable person or any other person, which have not been relied on for the issue of notice under the Act or rules made there under, shall be returned to such person within a period not exceeding thirty days of the issue of the said notice.

(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, box, receptacle in which any goods, accounts, registers or documents of the person are suspected to be concealed, where access to such premises, almirah, box or receptacle is

(5) The person from whose custody any documents are seized under sub-section (2) shall be entitled to make copies thereof or take extracts therefrom in the presence of an officer of CGST/SGST at such place and time as the authorised officer may indicate in this behalf except where making such copies or taking such extracts may, in the opinion of the proper officer, prejudicially affect the investigation.

(6) The goods so seized under sub-section (2) shall be released, on a provisional basis, upon execution of a bond and furnishing of a security, in such manner and of such quantum, respectively, as may be prescribed or on payment of applicable tax, interest and penalty payable, as the case may be.

(7) Where any goods are seized under sub-section (2) and no notice in respect thereof is given within six months of the seizure of the goods, the goods shall be returned to the person from whose possession they were seized:

PROVIDED that the aforesaid period of six months may, on sufficient cause being shown, be extended by the proper officer for a further period not exceeding six months.

(8) The Central or a State Government may, having regard to the perishable or hazardous nature of any goods, depreciation in the value of the goods with the passage of time, constraints of storage space for the goods or any other relevant considerations, by notification, specify the goods or class of goods which shall, as soon as may be after its seizure under sub-section (2), be disposed of by the proper officer in such manner as the Central or a State Government may

(9) Where any goods, being goods specified under sub-section (8), have been seized by a proper officer under sub-section (2), he shall prepare an inventory of such goods in the manner as may be prescribed in this behalf.

(10) The provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), 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 words [Principal Commissioner/Commissioner of CGST/Commissioner of SGST] were substituted.

(13) Where the proper officer has reason to believe that any person has evaded or is attempting to evade the payment of any tax, he may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, seize such accounts, registers or documents of such person produced before the said officer and shall grant a receipt for the same, and shall retain the same for so long as may be necessary, in connection with any proceeding under this Act or for a prosecution.

(12) The [Commissioner] of CGST/SGST or an officer authorized by him may cause purchase of any goods and/or services by any person authorized by him from the business premises of any taxable person, to check issue of tax invoices or bills of supply by such taxable person, and on return of goods so purchased by such officer, such taxable person or any person in charge of the business premises shall refund the amount so paid towards the goods after cancelling any tax invoice or bill of supply issued.

80. Inspection of goods in movement

(1) The Central or a State Government may require the person in charge of a conveyance carrying any consignment of goods of value exceeding a specified amount to carry with him such documents as may be prescribed and also to carry with him such devices in such manner as may be prescribed in this behalf.

(2) The details in documents required to be carried under sub-section (1) shall be validated in the manner as may 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 aforesaid documents and devices for verification, and the said person shall be liable to produce the documents and devices and also allow inspection of goods.

81. Power to arrest

(1) If the [Commissioner of CGST or the Commissioner of SGST] has reason to believe that any person has committed an offence specified in clause (a),(b),(c),(d) or clause (e) of sub-section (1) of section 92 and punishable under clause (i) and (ii) of sub-section (1) or under sub-section (2) of that section, he may, by order, authorise any CGST/SGST officer to arrest such person.

(2) Where a person is arrested for any cognizable offence, every officer authorised to arrest a person shall inform such person of the grounds of arrest and produce him before a magistrate within twenty four hours.

(3) In the case of a non-cognizable and bailable offence, the Deputy Commissioner or the Assistant Commissioner of CGST/SGST, as the case may be, 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 has, and is subject to, under section 436 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974).

(4) All arrests made under this section shall be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) relating to arrest.

82. Power to summon persons to give evidence and produce documents

(1) Any [CGST/SGST officer], duly authorised by the competent authority in this behalf, 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 which such officer is making for any of the purposes of this Act.

(5) A summons to produce documents or other things may be for the production of certain specified documents or things or for the production of all documents or things of a certain description in the possession or under the control of the person summoned.

(6) All persons so summoned shall be bound to attend, either in person or by an authorised representative, as such officer may direct; and all persons so summoned shall be bound to state the truth upon any subject respecting which they are examined or make statements and produce such documents and other things as may be required:

(7) Provided that the exemptions under sections 132 and 133 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908) shall be applicable to requisitions for attendance under this section.

(8) Every such inquiry as aforesaid shall be deemed to be a “judicial proceeding” within the meaning of section 193 and section 228 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (45 of 1860).

83. Access to business premises

(1) Any CGST/SGST officer authorized by the [Additional/Joint Commissioner of CGST or SGST] shall have access to any place of business of a registered taxable person to inspect books of account, documents, computers, computer programs, computer software (whether installed in a computer or otherwise) and such other things as he may require and which may be available at such place, for the purposes of carrying out any audit, scrutiny, verification and checks as may be necessary to safeguard the interest of revenue.

(2) Every person in charge of place referred to in sub-section (1) shall, on demand, make available to the officer authorized under sub-section (1) or the audit party deputed by the Additional/Joint Commissioner of CGST or SGST or a cost accountant or chartered accountant nominated under section 64, as the case may be,-

(i) the records as prepared or maintained by the registered taxable person and declared to the CGST/SGST officer 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 (18 of 2013);

(v) the income-tax audit report, if any, under section 44AB of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (43 of 1961); and

(vi) any other relevant record,

for the scrutiny of the officer or audit party or the cost accountant or chartered accountant, as the case may be, within a reasonable time, not exceeding fifteen working days from the day when such demand is made, or such further period as may be allowed by the said officer or the audit party or the cost accountant or chartered accountant, as the case may be.

84. Officers required to assist CGST/SGST officers

(1) All officers of Police, Railways, Customs and those of State/Central Government engaged in collection of goods and services tax and all officers of State/Central Government engaged in the collection of land revenue, and all village officers are hereby empowered and required to assist the CGST/SGST officers in the execution of this Act.

(2) The Central/State Government may, by notification, empower and require any other class of officers to assist the CGST/SGST officers in the execution of this Act when called upon to do so by the Commissioner of CGST/SGST.

Source- Revised Model Draft GST Law Released by CBEC

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