Simplified GST Series /Offences & Penalties /Section 134-138/CGST ACT 2017
Article explains Provisions of Section 134- Cognizance of offences, Section 135- Presumption of culpable mental state, Section 136- Relevancy of statements under certain circumstances, Section 137- Offences by Companies and Section 138- Compounding of offences.
No Court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under this Act or the rules made thereunder except with the previous sanction of the Commissioner, and no court inferior to that of a Magistrate of the First Class, shall try any such offence.
Analysis- Any offence under the Act or Rules can be tried only before a Court not lower than the Court of Judicial Magistrate of First Class. Further, previous sanction of the Commissioner is mandatory in every such case.
In any prosecution for an offence under this Act which requires a culpable mental state on the part of the accused, the court shall presume the existence of such mental state but it shall be a defence for the accused to prove the fact that he had no such mental state with respect to the act charged as an offence in that prosecution.
Analysis- In case of any prosecution which requires the existence of a culpable mental state, the Court would presume the existence of it. The accused can prove that he had no such mental state in respect of a particular act for which he is charged. The expression “culpable mental state” is defined inclusively to cover “intent, motive, knowledge of fact, belief in or reason to believe”. However, presumption does not mean assumption of mental state to commit the offence. It is only that it is a rebuttable presumption.
A statement made and signed by a person on appearance in response to any summons issued under section 70 during the course of any inquiry or proceedings under this Act shall be relevant, for the purpose of proving, in any prosecution for an offence under this Act, the truth of the facts which it contains –
(a) when the person who made the statement is dead or cannot be found, or is incapable of giving evidence, or is kept out of the way by the adverse party, or whose presence cannot be obtained without an amount of delay or expense which, under the circumstances of the case, the court considers unreasonable; or
(b) when the person who made the statement is examined as a witness in the case before the court and the court is of the opinion that, having regard to the circumstances of the case, the statement should be admitted in evidence in the interest of justice.
Analysis- A statement recorded during an investigation proceedings or inquiry will be relevant to prove the truthfulness of facts when:
(a) It is made by a person who is not available in Court on account of his death, incapacity,prevention by another party or when he absconds or when presence cannot be obtained without an amount of delay or expense which, under the circumstances of the case, the Court considers unreasonable or
(b) The Court consider the statement as an evidence on examination of the person as a witness.
This section comes down heavily on the persons who take shelter on the principle of separate legal status of artificial judicial persons and back out of their responsibility of payment of dues of the Government.
This provision deals with compounding of offences by payment of the prescribed compounding fees.
However, the application shall not be allowed unless the tax, interest and penalty liable to be paid, has been paid in case for which the application has been made
The amount of compounding of offences under this section shall be such as may be prescribed, subject to
(i) A person who has compounded once in respect of supply value exceeding ` One Crore.
(ii) A person who is convicted by a Court under this Act.
(iii) A person permitted to compound offences once in respect of offences specified in clauses (a) to (f) of section 132(1) and offences specified in clause (l) which are relatable to offences specified in (a) to (f).
(iv) A person who has been accused of committing an offence under this Act which is also an offence under any other law for the time being in force.
(v) A person who has been accused of committing an offence in section 132(1)(g) or 132(1)(j) or 132(1)(k)
(vi) Prescribed class of persons.
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