Search & Seizure carried out by Inspector of CGST dept. without authority of a proper jurisdictional officer is unlawful: Delhi HC

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  • Last Updated on 26 July, 2021

GST Search & Seizure

Case details: R.J. Trading Co. v. Commissioner of CGST, Delhi - [2021] 128 344 (Delhi)

Judiciary and Counsel Details

    • Rajiv Shakdher and Talwant Singh, JJ.
    • Priyadarshi Manish, Mrs. Anjali J. Manish and Ms. Kinjal Shrivastava, Advs. for the .Petitioner.
    • Harpreet Singh, Sr. Standing Counsel, Arunesh Sharma, Aditya Singla and Ms. Cheshta Jetly, Advs. for the Respondent.

Facts of the Case

The petitioner was engaged in the business of trading in cigarettes which were supplied to it by authorised dealers of well-known manufacturing companies. The officers of CGST Delhi North Commissionerate conducted search and seizure at its premises. It filed writ petition against the same contending that it was without authorisation and unlawful.

High Court Held

The Honorable High Court observed that in this case, the search and seizure was conducted by an Inspector of the CGST Delhi North Commissionerate based on the authorization of the Additional Commissioner of the same department i.e. CGST Delhi North Commissionerate. Admittedly, no investigations were carried out against petitioner by the CGST Delhi North Commissionerate. However, the search and seizure at the premises of petitioner was not conducted pursuant to an inspection carried out under sub-section (1) of Section 67 of GST Act. The conduct of search and seizure, in this case, appears to have been carried out under the cover of the omnibus term ‘otherwise’ provided in sub-section (2) of Section 67.

It was also observed that authorization of search was given merely on the basis of the communication addressed by Joint Commissioner (AE), Gautam Budh Nagar to the Additional/Joint Commissioner, CGST Delhi North Commissionerate. A careful perusal of this communication would show that Joint Commissioner (AE), Gautam Budh Nagar merely wanted to know existence of the petitioner in connection with another investigation in respect of other assessee. Therefore, it was held that the very trigger for conducting the search i.e. the authorization issued by the Additional Commissioner, CGST Delhi North Commissionerate was flawed and unsustainable in law.

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