1. Any person who is entitled or required to appear before a GST Officer appointed under this Act, or the First Appellate Authority or the Appellate Tribunal in connection with any proceedings under the Act, may, otherwise than when required under this Act to appear personally for examination on oath or affirmation, subject to the other provisions of this section, appear by an authorized representative.
2. For the purposes of this section, “authorised representative” means a person authorised by the person referred to in sub-section (1) to appear on his behalf, being —
(a) his relative or regular employee; or
(b) an advocate who is entitled to practice in any court in India, and who has not been debarred from practicing before any court in India; or
(c) any chartered accountant, a cost accountant or a company secretary, who holds a valid certificate of practice and who has not been debarred from practice; or
(d) a retired officer of the Commercial Tax Department of any State Government or of the Central Board of Excise and Customs, Department of Revenue, Government of India, who, during his service under the Government, had worked in a post not lower in rank than that of a Group-B gazetted officer for a period of not less than two years.
(e) any person who has been authorized to act as a Tax Return Preparer on behalf of the concerned registered taxable person.
3. Notwithstanding anything contained in this section, no person who was serving in the indirect tax departments of the Government of India or of any State Government, and has retired or resigned from such service after having served for not less than two years as a Gazetted officer in that department shall be entitled to appear as an authorised representative in any proceedings before a GST Officer for a period of one year from the date of his retirement or resignation, as the case may be.
4. No person, —
(a) who has been dismissed or removed from government service; or
(b) who is convicted of an offence connected with any proceeding under this Act, the SGST Act, the IGST Act, the Customs Act, 1962 (52 of 1962), the Central Excise Act, 1944 (1 of 1944) or Chapter V of the Finance Act 1994 (25 of 2014) or under any of the Acts passed by a State legislature dealing with the imposition of taxes on sale of goods or supply of goods and/or services, or
(c) who has become an insolvent,
shall be qualified to represent any person under sub-section (1) --
(i) for all times in the case of a person referred to in clause (a),
(ii) for such time as the Commissioner of GST or the competent authority under the Acts referred to in clause (b) may, by order, determine in the case of a person referred to in clause (b), and
(iii) for the period during which the insolvency continues in the case of a person referred to in clause (c).
5. If any person is found guilty of misconduct by the prescribed authority in connection with any proceedings under this Act or under any of the Acts referred to in clause (b) of sub-section (4), the prescribed authority may direct that he shall henceforth be disqualified to represent any person under sub-section (1).
6. Any order or direction under clause (b) of sub-section (4) or sub-section (5) shall be subject to the following conditions, namely:—
(a) no such order or direction shall be made in respect of any person unless he has been given a reasonable opportunity of being heard;
(b) any person against whom any such order or direction is made may, within one month of the making of the order or direction, appeal to the competent authority [Central/State Government] to have the order or direction cancelled; and (c) no such order or direction shall take effect until the expiration of one month from the making thereof, or, where an appeal has been preferred, until the disposal of the appeal.