Ans. As per law dictionary and as noted in different judicial pronouncements, the term ‘search’, in simple language, denotes an action of a government machinery to go, look through or examine carefully a place, area, person, object etc. in order to find something concealed or for the purpose of discovering evidence of a crime. The search of a person or vehicle or premises etc. can only be done under proper and valid authority of law.
Ans. ‘Inspection’ is a new provision under the MGL. It is a softer provision than search to enable officers to access any place of business of a taxable person and also any place of business of a person engaged in transporting goods or who is an owner or an operator of a warehouse or godown.
Ans. As per Section 60 of MGL, Inspection can be carried out by an officer of CGST/SGST only upon a written authorization given by an officer of the rank of Joint Commissioner or above. A Joint Commissioner or an officer higher in rank can give such authorization only if he has reasons to believe that the person concerned has done one of the following:
i. suppressed any transaction of supply;
ii. suppressed stock of goods in hand;
iii. claimed excess input tax credit;
iv. contravened any provision of the CGST/SGST Act to evade tax;
v. a transporter or warehouse owner has kept goods which have escaped payment of tax or has kept his accounts or goods in a manner that is likely to cause evasion of tax.