Power to arrest under GST – Updated
👉The term ‘arrest’ has not been defined in the CGST/SGST Act. However, as per judicial pronouncements, it denotes ‘the taking into custody of a person under some lawful command or authority’. In other words, a person is said to be arrested when he is taken and restrained of his liberty by power or colour of lawful warrant.
👉Generally, cognizable offence means a serious category of offences in respect of which a police officer has the authority to make an arrest without a warrant and to start an investigation with or without the permission of a Court.
👉Non-cognizable offence means an offence in respect of which a police officer does not have the authority to make an arrest without a warrant and an investigation cannot be initiated without the permission of a Court.
👉The Commissioner of CGST, by order, can authorize any CGST officer to arrest a person, if he has reasons to believe that such person has committed an offences specified in clause (a) or (b) or (c) or (d) of section 132(1) which is punishable under clause (i) or (ii) of section 132(1) or section 132(2) of the Act.
This essentially means that a person can be arrested only when the amount of tax evaded or the amount of input tax credit wrongly availed or utilized or the amount of refund wrongly taken exceeds ` 2 Crores (imprisonment for a term up to 1 year with fine) or ` 5 Crores(imprisonment for a term up to 5 years with fine).
The following are the safeguards provided for a person who is placed under arrest:
(a) If a person is arrested for a cognizable offence, he must be informed in writing of the grounds of arrest and he must be produced before a Magistrate within 24 hours of his arrest;
(b) If a person is arrested for a non-cognizable and bailable offence, the Deputy/Assistant Commissioner shall, for the purpose of releasing an arrested person on bail or otherwise, have the same powers and be subject to the same provisions as an officer-in-charge of a police station.
All arrest must be in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure,1973 relating to arrest.