SGST High Court Cases

GST – Section 67(2) of CGST Act, 2017 - Scope of authorisation granted by Joint Commissioner or Officer above the rank of Joint Commissioner, for the purpose of conducting search and seizure operation - Search at the business premises – challenge to seizure of gold ornaments in the absence of proper authorisation under Section 67 of the SGST/CGST Act 2017 - During search at the business premises discrepancies were found between the documents and the actual stock of gold - the gold ornaments found in excess were seized and a seizure memo was prepared - Petitioner's contention that there was no authorisation granted by the Joint Commissioner for the purpose of conducting the search and seizure of gold ornaments is null and void – whether seizure of gold is illegal, null and void - HELD - Sub-section (2) of Section 67 contemplates aspects for seizing the articles, that too with the prior permission of the Officer not below the rank of Joint Commissioner - when search and seizure operations are authorised, at that time, it would not be known which are the items or documents or books which might be recovered or which would have been kept at a secreted place. Authorisation has to be in general terms and cannot be with respect to any specific books, items, things or documents - What is relevant is that while granting authorisation for search and seizure operations, the authority granting such permission, i.e. Joint Commissioner or Officer above the rank of Joint Commissioner, should have reasons to believe that the goods, documents or things hold relevance and are useful in any legal proceedings under the SGST/CGST Act 2017 and the same are secreted at a particular place - In the present case, it is not in dispute that the search and seizure operation was authorised by the Joint Commissioner - The contention of the petitioner that there was no authorisation for the seizure of excess gold does not merit consideration - There cannot be authorisation in respect of each and every person and each and every article, goods, books, and documents which may be discovered during the search operation. The authorisation has to be done in respect of the business premises of an assessee, and if things, items, books or documents are found that the authorised officer has reasons to believe that they would be relevant for the purpose of proceeding under the SGST/CGST Act 2017, they are liable to be seized – there is no merit in this writ petition and it is dismissed

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