New Delhi: The Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) has come out with guidelines for online hearings under the Customs Act, 1962, whereby the party concerned would have to give a prior consent to avail the personal hearing before the adjudicating or appellate authority through video link.
“In any proceedings before the appellate or adjudicating authority under the Customs Act, 1962, the party, either as an appellant or a respondent, shall give his consent to avail the personal hearing before such authority, through video link at the time of filing his appeal or immediately after the issue of this instruction, in the case of pending appeals/adjudication matter. He should also indicate his email address for correspondence,” it said in a circular.
The video conference for virtual hearing will be conducted from the adjudicating or appellate authority’s office and conducted through available applications like VIDYO or other secured computer network.
If the party concerned wished to take part in the virtual hearing proceedings along with their advocate, they should give proper intimation to the adjudicating or appellate authority, it said.
“The date and time of hearing along with a link for the video conference shall be informed in advance to the appellant/respondent of their consultant/counsel or the consultant/counsel,” it said.
To contain the COVID-19 spread, the CBIC has decided that personal hearing, in respect of any proceeding under Customs Act, 1962, given by various authorities, such as the Commissioner (Appeals), original adjudicating authorities, and the compounding authority, may be conducted through video conferencing facility.
“This would also facilitate importers, exporters, passengers, advocates, tax practitioners and authorised representatives in performing their work at ease from a place of their choice to maintain social distancing,” the CBIC circular read.
The submission made by the appellant or their representative through the video link will be reduced in writing and a statement of the same will be prepared, shall be known as “record of personal hearing”. A soft copy of such record of personal hearing in PDF format will be sent to the appellant through email ID, within a day of such hearing.
If the appellant wants to modify the contents of the e-mailed record of personal hearing, they can do so and sign the modified record, scan and send back the signed record.