Court Directs Release of Seized Currency

In this legal case, the petitioner’s plea centered on securing the release of ₹15,92,000/-, which
had been confiscated by the respondent during a search operation conducted on January
23, 2020. The search was carried out under Section 67 of the Central Goods and Services Tax
Act (CGST Act) at the petitioner’s residential premises. The petitioner contended that they had
cooperated with the investigation prior to the search and were not a ‘taxpayer’ under the
CGST Act, rendering the search unwarranted.
During the search, documents and currency were seized. Although absent during the
operation, the petitioner’s family members requested that the currency, amounting to
₹15,92,000/-, not be seized, explaining it belonged to the family and was kept in a locker due
to ongoing renovations.
The petitioner challenged the legality of the seizure under Section 67(2) of the CGST Act. The
court found in favor of the petitioner, referencing a recent decision. Consequently, the court
directed the respondent to return the seized amount with accrued interest to the petitioner’s
bank account within two weeks. The court clarified that the respondent still retained the right
to take lawful measures, preserving the rights of both parties. The petition was thus concluded
in accordance with the provided terms.

SW Point of View: From a legal perspective, this case hinged on the release of 15,92,000/-, seized during a search conducted by the respondent under Section 67 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act. The petitioner, asserting prior cooperation with the investigation and non-taxpayer status under the CGST Act, questioned the validity of the seizure. The court sided with the petitioner, citing a recent precedent, leading to an order for the respondent to return the confiscated amount with accrued interest within two weeks. While the respondent’s lawful actions remained unhampered, both parties’ rights were preserved, bringing a resolution to the matter.

Source: 2023 (8) TMI 1263 – DELHI HIGH COURT

Ishan Kakkar, Associate- Indirect Tax, SW India