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Telanagana HC: Arrest/ Coerceive Measures Before Assessment Not Prohibited

Author: Ankita Karn (REVA University, Bangalore)

Telangana High Court has observed that the arrest and coercive measures started by the GST Department before the assessment are not prohibited under the law. The Court noted that the Prosecutions for these offences do not depend upon the completion of assessment.

Recently, the High Court of Telangana held that only the department of GST can initiate the arrest and coercive measures before the assessment are not interdict under the law. The petitioners assert before the High Court Bench consist Justice M S Ramchandra Rao and Justice A Rajasheker Reddy that the arrest power under Section 69 (1) of the CGST (Central Good & Service Tax) Act, 2017 can be performed after the completion of the assessment. According to the provision of the said act and the demand of the petitioners, it was claimed that only after finding it necessary to arrest a person who has failed to adhere the writ issued by the Central Goods and Service Tax (CGST) authorities.

The bench noticed that the point was raised by the petitioners in W.P. No. 10350 of 2019 and others in W.P. No. 5130 of 2019. The Division bench of this court and the Batch before this court had already dismissed the writ Petitions under paras 52 and 61 thereof. They said that the prosecution can only be launched after the completion of assessment which goes contrary to Section 132 of the Central Goods and Service Tax Act, 2017 which gives punishment for the certain offences. The enlisted offences in the sub-section (1) of section 132 of the CGST Act, 2017 doesn’t have any co-relation to the assessment. In section 132 sub-section (1) clauses (b) and (c), made offences which states that whoever commits any offences, namely (b) issues any invoice or bill without supply of goods or services or both in violation of the provisions of this Act, or the rules made thereunder leading to wrongful availment or utilisation of input tax credit or refund of tax; (c) avails input tax credit using such invoice or bill referred to in clause (b).

While dismissing the order the bench observed that the above orders were challenged before the Supreme Court where it also gets dismissed.

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