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High handedness of officers during search / survey should be deprecated in the strictest terms says High Court.

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High handedness of officers during search / survey should be deprecated in the strictest terms says High Court.
By: CA DEV KUMAR KOTHARI
December 2, 2019
All Articles by: CA DEV KUMAR KOTHARI       View Profile
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Interim orders:

2019 (11) TMI 1032 - GUJARAT HIGH COURT -PARESH NATHALAL CHAUHAN VERSUS STATE OF GUJARAT R/SPECIAL CIVIL APPLICATION NO. 18463 of 2019 Dated: - 20 November 2019  .       

The matter is adjourned to 11th December 2019 for a proper enquiry report.

2019 (10) TMI 1184 - GUJARAT HIGH COURT  -PARESH NATHALAL CHAUHAN VERSUS STATE OF GUJARAT R/SPECIAL CIVIL APPLICATION NO. 18463 of 2019 Dated: - 25 October 2019 . Time was allowed for filing of enquiry report.

Government officers are considered superior due to power to harass public:

Government officers are considered superior not because they should allow relief to public as per law but because they had powers by which they can harass public and deny relief or benefit admissible to public. This can be in relation to tax or any other matter. A major part of litigation take place only because of high handed, illegal and unjustifiable approach adopted by government officers.

Here we find inequality amongst people of India. Even peons and clerks in government department consider them as superior person when they come into dealing with public and when they have a role to play on which any matter of public is dependent. If a peon do not place file before authority, the case cannot proceed and can be delayed.   For such delay peon or clerk will not be penalised, rather the concerned person of  public will suffer and can also face criticism. 

Lack of responsibility:

There is almost complete lack of ultimate responsibility of government employees for their failure in duties and they can be considered a simple case of misdemeanour after long drawn process of enquiry, investigation etc. a very soft action, if at all, is usually taken against erring government employees.

If an officer take any action though patently wrong and illegal but in favour of government, or does not take action at all and benefit government,  then perhaps no action is taken against erring officer.

Case before Gujarat High Court:

The case of PARESH NATHALAL CHAUHAN relates to search and survey under GST.

 The survey / search team  officers had stayed at the premises of assesse   and had examined the phone calls that were received by the family members and had recorded their phone calls.

In order dated 25102019 the honourable Court directed as follows:

“ The first respondent Commissioner of State Tax, Ahmedabad shall carry out a proper inquiry in the matter and submit a report before this court on or before 13th November, 2019 - Stand over to 13th November, 2019.”

In order date 13112019 the honourable Court observed and directed as follows:

           “2. Upon perusal of the report, it emerges that it is no better than the earlier report dated 20.10.2019 submitted by the Assistant Commissioner of State Tax, and does not meet with the directions issued by this court in letter and spirit. It appears that the Chief Commissioner of G.S.T. has taken a very lenient view in the matter and instead of examining the action of the concerned officers in the context of the relevant provisions of the Goods & Services Tax Act, has tried to justify the action of the concerned officers, which is required to be deprecated in the strictest terms.

3. The learned Government Pleader prays for time to submit another report. At her request, the matter is adjourned to 11th December 2019.

Unquote:

From above observations and directions of honourable Court it appears that the senior authority has taken matter very lightly and tried to justify actions of his juniors.

This is so because senior and junior most of government employees are in habit of considering themselves as superior class of citizens of India and people who come to them for any work or compliance are treated as Indian people of very low rank – much inferior for whom such government officers have no regard and respect.

With increase in seniority, generally government employees develop sense of more and more superiority.

As per experience of author and his friends there are very few exceptions of government employees who consider themselves public servant and have no sense of superiority.

Many other persons may also have sense of superiority, any one cannot have objection to sense of superiority which another have, but one should not feel others inferior. There should not be sense of feeling others inferior. 

Proper training to government employees is required in such matters of behaviour.

 

 

By: CA DEV KUMAR KOTHARI - December 2, 2019

 

 

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