The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) in the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance has issued guidelines from time to time to ensure that summons provisions are not misused in the field. Some of the important highlights of these guidelines are given below:
- summons are to be issued as a last resort where assesses are not co-operating and this section should not be used for the top management;
- the language of the summons should not be harsh and legal which causes unnecessary mental stress and embarrassment to the receiver;
- summons by Superintendents should be issued after obtaining prior written permission from an officer not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner with the reasons for issuance of summons to be recorded in writing;
- where for operational reasons, it is not possible to obtain such prior written permission, oral/ telephonic permission from such officer must be obtained and the same should be reduced to writing and intimated to the officer according such permission at the earliest opportunity;
- in all cases, where summons are issued, the officer issuing summons should submit a report or should record a brief of the proceedings in the case file and submit the same to the officer who had authorized the issuance of summons;
- senior management officials such as CEO, CFO, General Managers of a large company or a Public Sector Undertaking should not generally be issued summons at the first instance. They should be summoned only when there are indications in the investigation of their involvement in the decision making process which led to loss of revenue.