With an objective to create a virtual customs working environment and at the same time ensuring social distancing, reducing physical presence and usage of ICT systems, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) issued the instructions for the conduct of personal hearings in the virtual mode under Customs Act, 1962, while addressing all the commissioner of CGST, Customs, and Central Excise.
While ensuring compliance with various guidelines and instructions issued by the Government and public health authorities with a view to containing the spread of COVID-19, the Board has decided personal hearing, in respect of any proceeding under Customs Act 1962. given by various authorities, such as Commissioner (Appeals), original adjudicating authorities, and Compounding authority, may be conducted through video conferencing facility.
“Broad guidelines to conduct such virtual hearing are being provided so that ongoing Customs work of appeals and adjudications are completed expeditiously for quick delivery of justice Hon’ble through quasi-judicial proceedings and in compliance of overall directions given by Supreme Court under Article 142 of the Constitution of India (refer Suo moto Writ (Civil) No. 5/2020). This would also facilitate importers, exporters, passengers, advocates, tax practitioners, and authorized representatives while performing their work at ease, from a place of their choice to maintain social distancing,” the board said.
The guidelines issued by the Board include the consent of the party shall be essential for personal hearings; date, time and link of video conferencing must be provided to the parties; the advocate appearing on behalf of the party must present the scanned vakalathama, and the party intending to join video conferencing must inform on the prior basis.
“The aforesaid guidelines will mutatis mutandis would apply to personal hearings granted under Central Excise Act, 1944 & Chapter V of Finance Act, 1994. Suitable Trade Notice/ Standing Order may be issued for the guidance of the trade and industry. Difficulties, if any, faced in the implementation of this instruction may be brought to the notice of the Board immediately,” the board said.To Read the full text of the Guidelines CLICK HERE