Rajasthan Govt. issued guidelines for personal hearing in virtual mode under GST and VAT

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The Rajasthan Government has issued Guidelines vide Instruction No. F. 5 Misc./Appeals/Legal/CCT/15-16/2370 dated April 18, 2022 for a personal hearing in the virtual mode under GST and VAT.

In view of the challenges presented by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and the feedback received from trade and field formations, the following instructions are hereby issued for conduct of personal hearings in virtual mode by all the Appellate and Adjudicating Authorities as this initiative would help in speeding up of passing of the Appellate and Adjudication proceedings, saving cost of travel and time, ensuring social distancing in these challenging times. This initiative would facilitate all stake holders such as Suppliers/Taxpayers under GST/VAT, Importers, Exporters, Advocates, Tax Practitioners and Authorized Representatives.

Broad guidelines to conduct such virtual hearing are being provided for expeditious completion of ongoing work of appeals and adjudications and quick delivery of justice through quasi-judicial proceedings. These guidelines are in reference to the directions given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court under Article 142 of the Constitution of India in Suo Moto Writ (Civil) No. 5/2020. This facility shall apply to all proceedings pending under all the Acts administered by the Department. The guidelines for the conduct of virtual mode of personal hearing through video conferencing facility are as under:

(i) In any proceedings before Appellate Authority/ Adjudicating Authority the appellant/respondent, shall give his consent to avail facility of personal hearing before such authority, through Video conferencing at the time of filing his appeal or immediately after issuance of this instruction, in case pending appeals/adjudication matter. He should also indicate his e-mail address for correspondence, etc.

(ii) The date and time of hearing along with link for the video conference shall be informed to the appellant/ respondent or their authorized representative and the concerned Appellate Authority or Adjudicating Authority, shall share the link through e-mail. This link should not be shared with any other person without the approval of the Appellate Authority/ Adjudicating Authority.

(iii) The Advocate/Authorized Representative appearing in virtual hearing, should file his vakalatnama or authorization letter along with a copy of his photo ID card and contact details to the Appellate Authority/ Adjudicating Authority through official e-mail address of the concerned authority after scanning the same.

(iv) Virtual hearing through video conference shall be held from the office of Appellate Authority/ Adjudicating Authority or any official video conference facility set up in the office.

(v) The virtual hearing through video conference may be conducted through secured computer applications like Webex, VIDYO, etc. The person should download such application in their computer system/laptop/mobile phone earlier for ready connectivity for virtual hearing and join the video conference at the time allotted to them.

(vi) In case where the Appellants/ Respondents wishes to participate himself in the virtual hearing proceeding along with their Advocate/Authorized Representative, they should do so under proper intimation to the Appellate Authority/ Adjudicating Authority. They may participate in virtual hearing along with their Advocate/ Authorized representative or join the proceedings from their own office.

(vii) If the assesses or their authorized representative prefers to submit any document including additional submissions during the virtual hearing, he may do so by self-attesting such document and a scanned copy of the same may be e-mailed to the Appellate Authority/ Adjudicating Authority immediately after virtual hearing and in no case after 3 days of virtual hearing. The date of the hearing will be excluded for this purpose. Any document including additional submissions submitted shall be deemed to be a document for the purpose of the relevant statute read with Section 4 of the Information Technology Act. 2000.

(viii) Any official representing the Department may also participate in the virtual hearing through video conferencing. The concerned official shall inform the details in advance regarding such participation.

(ix) Along with providing virtual hearing, if any person insists on opportunity of being physically present. and plead personally the same must also be provided.

(x) If the officer deems necessary and expedient to call the any person for inquiry in person, he may do so.

(xi) All persons participating in the video conference should be appropriately dressed and maintain the decorum required for such an occasion.

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