CBIC REVISED THE GUIDELINES FOR VIRTUAL HEARING
CBIC has decided to hear the proceedings via video conferencing due to the ongoing pandemic caused by Covid-19.
Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) has issued an instruction on 21st August 2020 through which the department has revised the guidelines for virtual hearing as issued on 27th April 2020.
As per the guideline, the board has now made it mandatory for the adjudicating, appellate, and compounding authorities to conduct personal hearing through video conferencing facility for any proceedings under the Customs Act 1962, Central Excise Act 1944, Chapter V of Finance Act 1994 (Service Tax), CGST Act 2017 and IGST Act 2017.
Guidelines issued by CBIC
The guidelines issued by CBIC for conducting personal hearing through video conferencing facility are as follows:
- It is obligatory for the authorities to inform regarding the personal hearing that would take place through a video conferencing facility. They will also provide an email address for correspondence in this regard.
- Information about the date and time of hearing along with the link for video conference will be provided to the applicant or his authorized representative and the concerned commissioner representing revenue through the official email, giving the details of the officer-in-charge who will provide aid to the parties for conducting the virtual hearing. The link should not be shared with anyone without the approval of the appellate or adjudicating authority.
- The applicant or the authorized representative is required to send the scanned copy of the vakalatnama or authorization letter along with a copy of the photo ID card and contact details to the concerned authority through official email.
- All the parties should be appropriately dressed and maintain the decorum required for such hearings.
- The virtual hearing shall be held from the office of adjudicating or appellate Authority or any video conferencing facility set up in the office of adjudicating or appellate Authority
- The virtual hearing through video conference will be conducted through the available VC application and the parties are required to download such applications in their mobile or laptop or computer system before the scheduled time of the virtual hearing.
- In case the applicant’s advocate is required to attend the virtual hearing, then it is the duty of the applicant to provide proper information to the appellate or adjudicating authority beforehand. After the intimation, the advocate can participate in the hearing.
- The submissions made by the applicant or the authorized representative will be recorded in writing and a statement of the same will be prepared and the same will be known as ‘record of personal hearing’. Such a record shall be sent to the applicant or the authorized representative in pdf format through email within one day of the hearing.
- The applicant or the authorized representative can modify the record of personal hearing. After modification, the record needs to be sent to the appellate or adjudicating authority within 3 days after the receipt of such a record. If no modification is informed within a given period of time, then in this case the record of personal hearing sent by the authority shall be deemed to be final. Kindly note that the date of receipt of record by the appellate or adjudicating authority shall not be counted for this purpose.
- The record of the personal hearing will be deemed to be a document for the purpose of the relevant statute read with Section 4 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
- In case the applicant or the authorized representative wants to submit any document that includes additional submissions, they may do so. The documents are required to be sent to the concerned authority through email within 3 days after the virtual hearing. The document must be self-attested.
- If in case, the applicant or his authorized representative is unable to attend the virtual hearing due to any unavoidable circumstance, then the applicant will have the option to make a request for a physical hearing and the adjudicating or appellate authority will approve the request and record the reasons for the same in writing.
- The instruction issued on 27th April 2020 will be superseded by the instruction issued on 21st August 2020.
Such a step taken by the CBIC is highly appreciable as any physical contact between the persons will be harmful at the current pandemic situation caused by the Covid-19. Virtual hearing not only will allow the people to maintain the social distancing norms but will also save their time and cost.
Link of the instruction –
Edited by Minu Mishra
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