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Read Full Case
Hon'ble Judges:

RAJIV SHAKDHER
TARA VITASTA GANJU
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COUNSEL
Abhishek A Rastogi
Pratyushprava Saha
COUNSEL
Adesh Kumar Tiwari
Vedansh Anand
Harpreet Singh

Writ petition seeking interim relief against GST Summons allowed by High Court 

Key Points raised by Petitioner:

GST Summon to top management should be issued as a last resort.

If information can be obtained from officers working in a company, then top management need not be roped in immediately.

It is that only when the revenue is able to demonstrate that a particular person in the company is involved in infractions or suspected of committing infractions, can summons be issued to the concerned person.

Facts:

This writ petition is directed against the summons issued by Superintendent, Anti-Evasion, CGST.

A perusal of the summons would show, that neither the Document Identification Number (“DIN”) has been mentioned, nor is it specified as to who was required to remain present on the date indicated in the impugned summons.

The date indicated in the summons is 05.05.2022, which has already passed.

Although the petitioner is a company, the summons issued are addressed to the “Proprietor/Director/Partner”.

Obviously, the petitioner, which is a company, does not have a proprietor or partner.

In sum, there is no indication as to the individuals who had to present themselves on the date mentioned in the aforesaid summons.

Petitioner:

Mr. Rastogi (Counsel for Petitioner) further says that the grievance of the petitioner is that respondent, by issuing summons has disregarded the circulars dated 23.12.2019, 26.02.2007 and 20.01.2015, and the guidelines incorporated in the circular dated 05.11.2019.

Mr. Rastogi submits that the summons issued by the respondents were required to indicate the DIN. As per the guidelines, according to Mr. Rastogi, this generates an audit trail and helps in bringing about transparency in the system. Mr. Rastogi emphasized, that if the summons contain DIN, it lends authenticity to the document.

It is also Mr. Rastogi’s contention, that the circulars and guidelines provide for exceptions, albeit, in an emergent situation. However, Mr. Rastogi says the process also requires the respondents to regularise this deficiency.

Besides this, it is also Mr. Rastogi’s contention, that the summons under the aforesaid circulars and guidelines have to be issued as a last resort; the contention being that if information can be obtained from officers working for an entity, then the top management need not be roped in immediately.

The thrust of the argument is that only when the contesting respondents are able to demonstrate that a particular person in the company is involved in infractions or suspected of committing infractions, can summons be issued to the concerned person.

Revenue:

Mr. Singh (Counsel for Revenue) says that one cannot but accept, that the circulars and guidelines are binding on respondents/revenue.

It is Mr. Singh’s stand before us that in future, if summons are issued, regard will be had to the aforementioned circulars and guidelines framed in that behalf.

Mr. Singh further submits, that if summons are served on the Petitioner’s employee for furnishing information or to seek his presence before the concerned officer and if a request is made that the employee summoned would be represented through an authorised agent, such request will be considered and in case such a request is declined, reasons for the same will be furnished.

Held by High Court:

Having regard to the statement made by Mr. Singh, which is in line with the contents of the aforementioned circulars and guidelines, we are inclined to dispose of the writ petition based on the statement made by Mr. Singh.

  Read Full Case

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Author:

TaxReply


Aug 10, 2022


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