करदाताओं को अवैध DIN के साथ नोटिस व आदेश भेज रहे CGST के अधिकारी?
करोड़ों रूपये के नोटिस व आदेश घोषित हो सकते है अवैध?
लखनऊ। सर्विस टैक्स कारण बताओ नोटिस संख्या 08/Comm./DEM/ऑडिट LKO/2020-21 दिनांक 31.12.2020 के संबंध में, UPSCIDC (उत्तर प्रदेश स्टेट कंस्ट्रक्शन एंड इंफ्रास्ट्रक्चर डेवलपमेंट कॉरपोरेशन) ने पाया है कि नोटिस पर अंकित DIN 20201253ZZ000000BB4F अधीक्षक प्रदीप कुमार दास द्वारा दिया गया था, जबकि उपरोक्त नोटिस आयुक्त, केंद्रीय वस्तु एवं सेवा कर, लेखापरीक्षा, लखनऊ के नाम से जारी किया गया था।
इस मामले में, यूपीएससीआईडीसी ने अधीक्षक द्वारा जारी DIN (Document Identification Number) को अमान्य घोषित करते हुए सेवा कर नोटिस को रद्द करने की मांग की है, जिससे विभाग में हड़कंप मच गया। UPSCIDC ने CBIC के सर्कुलर नंबर 122/41/2019-GST दिनांक 05.11.2019 और No. 122/47/2019-GST दिनांक 23.12.2019 का हवाला देते हुए कहा कि डीआईएन पोर्टल उपयोगकर्ता विशिष्ट प्राधिकरण है और एक बार जनरेट किए गए डीआईएन के साथ कोई नोटिस/संचार जारी होने का मतलब है कि उस पर DIN जनरेटर द्वारा हस्ताक्षर किए गए हैं।
किसी संचार/नोटिस जारी करने के लिए अधीनस्थ DIN का उपयोग करना यह कहने के बराबर है कि नोटिस जारी किया गया था और अधीक्षक द्वारा डिजिटल रूप से हस्ताक्षरित किया गया था, जिसके पास नोटिस जारी करने का कोई अधिकार नहीं था और इसलिए कानूनी रूप से अमान्य था। यह आयुक्त द्वारा अपने अधीनस्थ को हस्ताक्षर करने का अधिकार सौंपने के बराबर है, जो नहीं किया जा सकता है।
अधीनस्थ के DIN को उद्धृत करने का उक्त कार्य बोर्ड द्वारा जारी उक्त परिपत्र में निहित निर्देशों का उल्लंघन करता है और इसलिए नोटिस को कानूनी रूप से अमान्य बनाता है।
DIN केवल DIN पोर्टल में यूजरनेम और पासवर्ड के साथ लॉगिन करके और उसके बाद उक्त सर्कुलर के पैरा 7 में उल्लिखित अनुसार उपयोगकर्ता के मोबाइल पर प्राप्त ओटीपी को दर्ज करके उत्पन्न किया जा सकता है।
पैरा 7 के बिंदु (v) के अनुसार- “सफलतापूर्वक लॉग इन करने के बाद, उपयोगकर्ता को विभिन्न श्रेणियों को प्रदर्शित करने वाले डैशबोर्ड जिस में, कुल सम्मनों की संख्या, खोज प्राधिकरण, निरीक्षण, नोटिस और उपयोगकर्ता द्वारा जारी किए गए गिरफ्तारी ज्ञापन (जोर दिया गया) दिखेगा। प्रारंभ में, प्रत्येक श्रेणी के तहत आंकड़े ‘शून्य’ होंगे।
उपरोक्त को देखते हुए, यह स्पष्ट है कि DIN ‘उपयोगकर्ता’ विशिष्ट है न कि ‘विभाग/कार्यालय’ विशिष्ट, अन्यथा कार्यालय का केवल एक उपयोगकर्ता करदाताओं के साथ संवाद करने के लिए DIN जारी करने के लिए पर्याप्त है।
उक्त परिपत्र के पैरा 6 में ‘सभी अधिकृत अधिकारियों’ को अनिवार्य किया गया है, जिन्हें डीआईएन उत्पन्न करना है, उन्हें तुरंत उपयोगकर्ताओं के रूप में मैप किया जाना चाहिए, अर्थात, करदाताओं को संचार जारी करने के लिए अधिकृत अधिकारियों को DIN पोर्टल में मैप किया जाना चाहिए।
DIN प्रणाली के उद्देश्य, जैसा कि उक्त परिपत्र के परिचय भाग में उल्लेख किया गया है, सूचना प्रौद्योगिकी के व्यापक उपयोग के माध्यम से अप्रत्यक्ष कर प्रशासन में पारदर्शिता और जवाबदेही है। लोकतंत्र में लोक विभाग के कामकाज में ‘पारदर्शिता’ और ‘जवाबदेही’ दोनों शब्दों का सर्वोपरि महत्व है।
आज के दौर में किसी भी विभाग का फर्जी नोटिस/संचार इस तथ्य पर विचार करते हुए बहुत आसान है कि कोई भी किसी भी सरकारी अधिकारी के हस्ताक्षर नहीं जानता है ।
कर अधिकारियों के नाम पर किसी भी अनधिकृत संचार/नोटिस/धोखाधड़ी से करदाताओं को बचाने के लिए, सरकार ने कर विभाग द्वारा जारी किए गए किसी नोटिस/संचार की पारदर्शिता के साथ-साथ जवाबदेही सुनिश्चित करने के लिए डीआईएन प्रणाली लाई है।
ऑक्सफोर्ड डिक्शनरी के अनुसार, जवाबदेही “आपके निर्णयों या कार्यों के लिए जिम्मेदार होने के तथ्य और आपसे पूछे जाने पर उन्हें स्पष्ट करने की अपेक्षा” के रूप में परिभाषित करती है। जाहिर तौर पर, कर अधिकारी जो किसी भी करदाता को कोई नोटिस/संचार जारी करने के लिए अधिकृत हैं, उन्हें DIN पोर्टल पर अपने उपयोगकर्ता नाम और पासवर्ड के साथ लॉग इन करके और अपने मोबाइल पर प्राप्त OTP दर्ज करके अपना विशिष्ट DIN उद्धृत करना चाहिए, क्योंकि यह नोटिस/संचार को डिजिटल बनाता है। उस अधिकारी द्वारा हस्ताक्षरित और संचार/नोटिस जारी करने वाले सार्वजनिक अधिकारी की जवाबदेही सुनिश्चित करता है।
अतः अधीनस्थ के DIN के साथ नोटिस और ऑर्डर जारी करना सर्कुलर के पैरा 5 के तहत अनुचित और अवैध माना जाएगा । इस मामले में उच्च न्यायलय, कोलकाता का Amal Kumar Ghosh  361 ITR 458 (Cal) के DIN ना होने पर नोटिस को अवैध घोषित करने के निर्णय का भी उल्लेख किया गया है, जो इस प्रकार है :
Mrs. Gutgutia, learned Advocate submitted that the circulars are not meant for the purpose of permitting the unscrupulous assessees from evading tax. Even assuming, that to be so, it cannot be said that the Department, which is State, can be permitted to selectively apply the standards set by themselves for their own conduct. If this type of deviation is permitted, the consequences will be that floodgate of corruption will be opened which it is not desirable to encourage. When the Department has set down a standard for itself, the Department is bound by that standard and cannot act with discrimination. In case, it does that, the act of the Department is bound to be struck down under Article 14 of the Constitution.
सूत्रों से मिली जानकारी के आनुसार नवंबर 2019 में डीआईएन की शुरुआत के बाद, लखनऊ में उच्च पदस्थ अधिकारियों, विशेष रूप से अतिरिक्त/संयुक्त आयुक्त, प्रधान आयुक्त/आयुक्त सीजीएसटी/ऑडिट, अतिरिक्त/संयुक्त निदेशक, डीजीजीआई/डीआरआई ने 2020-2022 तक ढेरों मामलों में फ़र्ज़ी अधीनस्थों के DIN से नोटिस एवं आदेश जारी कर दिया हैं जो की अवैध घोषित हो सकते हैं।
हालांकि मुश्किल यह है कि डीआईएन पोर्टल चेक करने पर जारी करने वाले अधिकारी का नाम छिपा कर रखा जाता है। लेकिन यदि करदाता डीआईएन प्रमाण पत्र से डीआईएन की संपूर्ण जानकारी आरटीआई के माध्यम से या पत्र लिख कर विभाग से मांगे तो डीआईएन के फर्जीवाड़े के खेल का पर्दाफाश हो सकता है और समस्त नोटिस और आदेश को अदालत में चुनौती देकर अमान्य करार दिया जा सकता है.। अधीनस्थ के DIN के ख़िलाफ़ UPSCIDC का संपूर्ण प्रस्तुतीकरण नीचे दिया गया है :
(i) The impugned show cause notice is issued with DIN -20201253ZZ000000BB4F (DIN copy enclosed), which was generated by Shri Pradeep Kumar Das, Superintendent, on 31.12.2020.
(ii) In this reference, it is to submit that the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs has issued Circular No. 122/41/2019-GST dated 05.11.2019 and Circular No. 122/47/2019-GST dated 23.12.2019 for issuance of the DIN. The relevant point of the both circulars is reproduced below;
Circular No. 122/41/2019-GST dated 05.11.2019
- The Board in exercise of its power under section 168(1) of the CGST Act, 2017/ Section 37B of the Central Excise Act, 1944 directs that no search authorization, summons, arrest memo, inspection notices and letters issued in the course of any enquiry shall be issued by any officer under the Board to a taxpayer or any other person, on or after the 8th day of November, 2019 without a computer-generated Document Identification Number (DIN) being duly quoted prominently in the body of such communication. The digital platform for generation of DIN is hosted on the Directorate of Data Management (DDM) ‘s online portal “cbicddm.gov.in “
- Whereas DIN is a mandatory requirement, in exceptional circumstances communications may be issued without an auto generated DIN. However, this exception is to be made only after recording the reasons in writing in the concerned file. Also, such communication shall expressly state that it has been issued without a DIN. The exigent situations in which a communication may be issued without the electronically generated DIN are as follows:-
(i) when there are technical difficulties in generating the electronic DIN, or
(ii) when communication regarding investigation/enquiry, verification etc. is required to issued at short notice or in urgent situations and the authorized officer is outside the office in the discharge of his official duties.
- The Board also directs that any specified communication which does not bear the electronically generated DIN and is not covered by the exceptions mentioned in para 3 above, shall be treated as invalid and shall be deemed to have never been issued.
- Any communication issued without an electronically generated DIN in the exigencies mentioned in para 3 above shall be regularized within 15 working days of its issuance, by:
- i) obtaining the post facto approval of the immediate superior officer as regards the justification of issuing the communication without the electronically generated DIN;
(ii) mandatorily electronically generating the DIN after post facto approval; and
(iii) printing the electronically generated pro-forma bearing the DIN and filing it in the concerned file.
- In order to implement this new facility of electronically generating the DIN, all Principal Chief Commissioners /Principal Director Generals/Chief Commissioners/Director Generals shall ensure that all their authorized officers who have to electronically generate the DIN are immediately mapped as users in the System and are conversant with the process for auto-generating a DIN.
- Officers who have been added as users in the DIN utility shall electronically generate DINs, as follows:
(i) Every authorized user shall receive an e-mail on his official e-mail Id after he/she is mapped into the DIN utility. This e-mail shall provide the user of his/her user name and password. The same e-mail shall also provide an URL online link.
(ii) After clicking on the said URL link, the user shall be guided to the DIN utility within CBIC-Sanchar on the DDM’s online portal “cbicddm.gov.in/”.
(iii) The user shall be required to submit his/her mobile number on the screen page for purposes of verification and then click “Get OTP” button for receiving a One Time Password (OTP) on the mobile.
(iv) The user shall login to the DIN utility by entering the OTP received.
(v) After successfully logging in, the user shall see the Dashboard displaying different categories, for total number of summons, search authorizations, inspection notices and arrest memos issued by the user. Initially, the figures under each category shall be ‘zero’.
(vi) The user shall click “Generate DIN” on the Menu Bar located at the left hand side of the screen and enter the details of the communication to be issued by choosing its category and selecting the appropriate title of the communication from the dropdown menu “Choose Document”
(vii) After filling in all the required information, and clicking on the “View & Save DIN” button, the user shall see a preview page. By clicking the “Back button”, mistakes or typographical errors, if any, can be rectified. Also, the user has the option of partially entering details in the System at a time and coming back later to retrieve the partially entered document (automatically saved in the System), fill in the remaining details, and generate a DIN on a later occasion.
(viii) The last step is to click on the “Generate DIN” button and a DIN shall be generated for that particular communication by the System. The generated DIN cannot be edited.
- The electronic generation of DIN and its use in official communications to taxpayers and other concerned persons is a transformative initiative. Principal Chief Commissioners/Principal Director Generals / Chief Commissioners/Director Generals must become fully familiar with the process involved. They are also urged to ensure that adequate and proper training is provided to all concerned officers under their charge to ensure its successful implementation. It is reiterated that any specified document that is issued without the electronically generated DIN shall be treated as invalid and shall be deemed to have never been issued. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all officers concerned to strictly adhere to these instructions.
Circular No. 122/47/2019-GST dated 23.12.2019
- The DIN monitoring system would be used for incorporating a DIN on search authorisations, summons, arrest memos, inspection notices to begin with. Further, a facility was provided to enable the recipient of these documents/communications to easily verify their genuineness by confirming the DIN on-line at cbic.gov.in. In continuation of the same, the Board has now directed that electronic generation and quoting of Document Identification Number (DIN) shall be done in respect of all communications (including e-mails) sent to tax payers and other concerned persons by any office of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) across the country. Instructions contained in this Para would come into effect from 24.12.2019
(iii) From the provisions given in Circular No. 122/41/2019-GST dated 05.11.2019 and Circular No. 122/47/2019-GST dated 23.12.2019, it is amply clear that the DIN is required to be generated by “the user” i.e. “the authorized officer” and in case of any communication issued without electronically generated DIN in the exigencies shall be regularized within 15 working days of its issuance by obtaining the post facto approval of the immediate superior officer. Also, the Circular has specially mentioned that “Principal Chief Commissioners/Principal Director Generals / Chief Commissioners/Director Generals must become fully familiar with the process involved. They are also urged to ensure that adequate and proper training is provided to all concerned officers under their charge to ensure its successful implementation.”
(iv) The Hon’ble Supreme Court, in the case of M/s Canon India Pvt ltd (CIVIL APPEAL NO.1827 OF 2018), has discussed the meaning of “the proper officer”. The relevant extract of the judgment is as follows:
- The question that arises is whether the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had authority in law to issue a show cause notice under Section 28(4) of the Act for recovery of duties allegedly not levied or paid when the goods have been cleared for import by a Deputy Commissioner of Customs who decided that the goods are exempted. It is necessary that the answer must flow from the power conferred by the statute i.e. under Section 28(4) of the Act. This Section empowers the recovery of duty not paid, part paid or erroneously refunded by reason of collusion or any wilful mis-statement or suppression of facts and confers the power of recovery on ‘the proper officer’. The obvious intention is to confer the power to recover such duties not on any proper officer but only on ‘the proper officer’. This Court in Consolidated Coffee Ltd. and Another vs. Coffee Board, Bangalore2 20 has held:- ―
“14. …Secondly, and more importantly, the user of the definite article ‘the’ before the word ‘agreement’ is, in our view, very significant. Parliament has not said ‘an agreement’ or ‘an agreement’ for or in relation to such export and in the context the expression ‘the agreement’ would refer to that agreement which is implicit in the sale occasioning the export.”
(v) In Shri Ishar Alloy Steels Ltd. vs. Jayaswals Neco Ltd.3 has held:-
“9. … ‘The ‘is the word used before nouns, with a specifying or particularising effect as opposed to the indefinite or generalizing force of ‘a’ or ‘an’. It determines what particular thing is meant; that is, what particular thing we are to assume to be meant. ‘The’ is always mentioned to denote a particular thing or a person.”
- There are only two articles ‘a (or an)’ and ‘the’. ‘A (or an’ is known as the Indefinite Article because it does not specifically refer to a particular person or thing. On the other hand, ‘the’ is called the Definite Article because it points out and refers to a particular person or thing.There is no doubt that, if Parliament intended that any proper officer could have exercised power under Section 28 (4), it could have used the word ‘any’. [ emphasis supplied]”
(vi) In light of the above-mentioned Judgments of Hon’ble Supreme Court, the word “the user” used para 7 of the Circular in these two circulars No. 122/41/2019-GST dated 05.11.2019 has very specific meaning, i.e. the DIN should be issued by the particular officer who signs the communicating document. The DIN can only be generated by login into the DIN portal with a username and password and thereafter entering the OTP received on the user’s mobile as mentioned in the said para 7. Further, as per point (v) of para 7- “after successfully logging in, the user shall see the Dashboard displaying different categories, for total number of summons, search authorizations, inspection notices and arrest memos issued by the user (emphasis added). Initially, the figures under each category shall be ‘zero’.” Given the above, it is clear that the DIN is ‘user’ specific and not ‘department/office’ specific, otherwise only one user of office is enough for issuing DIN for communicating with taxpayers. Para 6 of the said circular mandates ‘all authorized officers’ who have to generate DIN get immediately mapped as users, i.e., the officers authorized to issue a communication to taxpayers must be mapped in the DIN portal.
(vii) para 5 of the said Circular clearly mentions that any communication issued without an electronically generated DIN in the exigencies mentioned in para 3 must be regularized within 15 working days of its issuance by obtaining the post facto approval of the immediate superior officer as regards the justification of issuing the communication without the electronically generated DIN. Apart from the technical difficulties, the exigency situation mentioned in para 3 is when communication regarding investigation/enquiry, verification etc. is required to be issued at short notice or in urgent situations, and the authorized officer is outside the office in the discharge of his official duties. The said paras 3 & 5 of the said Circular have left no scope for a subordinate/any other officer to issue DIN on behalf of the officer who is authorized (having proper authority) to issue that communication.
(viii) The objectives of the DIN system, as mentioned in the introduction part of the said Circular are transparency & accountability in indirect tax administration through the widespread use of Information Technology. The words ‘transparency’ & ‘accountability’ both have paramount importance in the functioning of the public Department in a democracy. In this era of widespread fake news & fraud, it is very easy to fake notice/communication of any department considering the fact that no one knows the signature of any public officer. To save the taxpayers from any unauthorized communication/notice/fraud in the name of tax officials, the Government has brought in the DIN system to ensure the transparency as well as accountability of any notice/communication issued by the tax department. As per Oxford Dictionary, accountability defines as “the fact of being responsible for your decisions or actions and expected to explain them when you are asked.” Apparently, the tax officials who are authorized to issue any notice/communication to any taxpayer must quote their specific DIN by logging in with their username and password on DIN portal and entering the OTP received on their mobile, as that makes the notice/communication digitally signed by that officer and ensure the accountability of the public official who issues the communication/notice.
(ix) In the impugned show cause notice, it is noticed that the show cause notice is issued by the sign of Commissioner (Shri Shiv Kumar Sharma) whereas the DIN (document identification number) is issued by the Superintendent (Shri Pradeep Kumar Das). Therefore, the DIN issued by the Superintendent is not a proper & authorised DIN for the communication i.e., impugned show cause notice in the present case, issued by the Commissioner.
(x) DIN portal user is specific authority and once any notice/communication is issued with the generated DIN means it has been signed by the DIN generator. Using subordinate DIN for issuing any communication/notice is equivalent to saying that the notice was issued & digitally signed by the Superintendent who was having no authority to issue the impugned notice and hence was legally invalid. It’s equivalent to delegating the authority of signing by the Commissioner to his subordinate, which cannot be done. Consequently, the said act of quoting the DIN of the subordinate violates the instructions contained in the said Circular issued by the Board & hence makes the notice legally invalid.
(x) It is also important to note that the circulars issued by the CBIC are binding in nature on the tax Authorities as pronounced by the various courts of law. Hon’ble High Court of Calcutta, in the case of Amal Kumar Ghosh  361 ITR 458 (Cal), while giving its observations and finding on the issue, the Hon’ble Court referred to the decision of Hon’ble Chhattisgarh High Court in the case of Sunita Finlease Ltd (supra), which are as under:
- Mrs.Gutgutia, learned Advocate submitted that the circulars are not meant for the purpose of permitting the unscrupulousassessees from evading tax. Even assuming, that to be so, it cannot be said that the Department, which is State, can be permitted to selectively apply the standards set by themselves for their own conduct. If this type of deviation is permitted, the consequences will be that floodgate of corruption will be opened which it is not desirable to encourage. When the Department has set down a standard for itself, the Department is bound by that standard and cannot act with discrimination. In case, it does that, the act of the Department is bound to be struck down under Article 14 of the Constitution.
(xi) In view of the above, the impugned show cause notice must be treated as issued without proper DIN, in light of the above said circular, and shall be treated as invalid and shall be deemed to have never been issued.
- Even though the impugned SCN is legally invalid & have been issued without proper legal authority, for the sake of countering the false allegations of evading tax, we are submitting the facts and merits of the case.