Directs hand-over of premises sealed for over a month, sealing cannot assume ‘indefinite’ life: HC of Delhi

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Fact: M/S Napin Impex Private Ltd (“the petitioner”) is a registered dealer, which trades inter alia in PVC raisins and other food items such as beverages. The petitioner alleges that its premises were visited by the Revenue authorities on 29.08.2018 when the DGST officials directed for production of books of accounts and other documents. Since the petitioner was not in possession of those, it sought 24 hours’ time for the same. Apparently, a temporary sealing of the premises was ordered. On the next date i.e. 30.08.2018, the premises were completely sealed. The petitioner contended that the DGST lacks statutory power and authorization to indefinitely seal the premises in a manner it has proceeded to do so.

Held: The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in the case of M/S Napin Impex Private Ltd vs Commissioner of DGST, Delhi & Ors , directs the removal of seal where premises of assessee was sealed on behalf of Delhi Goods and Services Tax (DGST), u/s 67 of CGST Act, 2017 for non-possession of books and accounts sought. Further it was stated that Even if it were assumed that the respondents temporarily restrained the petitioner from using its premises, for a few hours, till the books of accounts are made available in order to secure the evidence available in the premises. As section 69(4), which merely authorizes the concerned officials to search the premises and if resistance is offered, break-open the lock or any other almirah, electrical device, box, etc. containing books and documents, finds the complete sealing of the premises, per se ‘illegal’. Therefore, after observing that the premises have been in the possession of Revenue for over a month, directs removal of seal forthwith and hand over of the premises to the petitioner.

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