Central Excise & Service Tax Summons not to be issued to Senior Management Officials in Ordinary Instance
In what could be a relief to the trade, the Central Board of Excise and Customs has tried to streamline the process of issuance of summons under section 14 of Central Excise Act, 1944 (as made applicable to service tax as well) by clarifying that the summon should be only used to obtain details /evidence as a matter of last resort in its circular No. F. No. 207/07/2014-CX-6 dated 20th January, 2015.
Further, it has been clarified by the board that :-
è "Senior management officials such as CEO, CFO, General Managers of a large company or a PSU should not generally be issued summons at the first instance. They should be summoned only when there are indications in the investigation of their involvement in the decision making process which led to loss of revenue."
è Summons by Superintendents should be issued after obtaining prior written permission from an officer not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner with the reasons for issuance of summons to be recorded in writing.
è Where for operational reasons it is not possible to obtain such prior written permission, oral/telephonic permission from such officer must be obtained and the same should be reduced to writing and intimated to the officer according such permission at the earliest opportunity
è In all cases, where summons are issued, the officer issuing summons should submit a report or should record a brief of the proceedings in the case file and submit the same to the officer who had authorized the issue of summons .
Author's Note: - Such a sought of clarification is not a newly clarified matter. It is worthy to note that even DGCEI (Intelligence) in its instruction No. F.No. 406/CF/15/2006 dated 19th May, 2006 instructed the field formations in the similar manner. How far it is implemented, only time can tell !!
CA.Ankit Gulgulia (Jain)|B.COM(H), C.A, C.IFRS, C.B.V, LLB*