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Nagrik Adhikar Manch Versus The State of Bihar And Others

2016 (8) TMI 474 - PATNA HIGH COURT

Recovery of loss of revenue Whether reduction in rate of Entry Tax/ VAT is against the interest of State of Bihar stone chips, stone boulders and stone ballasts omission to register FIR - Held that: - petitioner had drawn the attention of this Court to the alleged illegality in the entire process of issuance of notifications and also noting that such actions were causing loss of revenue to the State, which was detrimental to the public interest. Original records were called to ascertain th .....

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t notifications and accorded approval for issuance of the same. It was only thereafter that impugned notifications, contained in Annexures 1, 2 and 3, were issued. Thus, the allegations of the writ petitioner are wholly unfounded - writ petition dismissed. - Civil Writ Jurisdiction Case No. 16920 of 2014 - Dated:- 2-8-2016 - I. A. Ansari, CJ And Smt. Anjana Mishra, JJ. Nagrik Adhikar Manch Versus The State of Bihar through the Chief Secretary, Government of Bihar, Patna, The Chief Secretary, Gov .....

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Secretary to the Governor, Raj Bhawan, Bihar, Patna, The Director, Central Investigation Bureau, New Delhi For the Petitioner : Mr. Dinu Kumar, Advocate Mr. Rajesh Kumar Singh, Advocate For the Respondent : Mr. Lalit Kishore (PAAG) JUDGMENT ( Per Honourable Justice Smt. Anjana Mishra ) Alleging that loss of revenue of hundreds of crores has been caused to the State of Bihar by issuance of three notifications, Notification Nos. S.O.77, dated 13.09.2007 (Annexure-1), S.O.85, dated 13.09.2007 (Ann .....

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duced from 8% to 4%; and under the Notification bearing No. S.O. 65, dated 03.07.2008, the rate of VAT has been reduced from 12.5% to 4% on plate and cup made of leaves. 2. The petitioner, therefore, seeks an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (in short, CBI ) and also a direction to the respondents, particularly, the Chief Secretary, Government of Bihar, to recover the loss of revenue by initiating proceedings under the Bihar Public Demands Recovery Act, 1994. The petitioner f .....

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pondents to enquire into the role played by the then Chief Minister, Shri Nitish Kumar, and, later on, Chief Minister-cum- Finance Minister (from 16.06.2013 to 17.06.2014), Shri Sushil Kumar Modi, the then Deputy Chief Minister-cum-Finance and Commercial Tax Minister, Shri Vijayendra Yadav, Finance Minister-cum-Commercial Tax Minister, concerned Political Head and Executive Head, concerned Chief Secretary, Government of Bihar, Principal Secretary, Finance Department, Government of Bihar, Patna, .....

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on should be referred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (C.B.I.) for investigation after lodging an First Information Report against those responsible for such an action. 5. It is further contended that the Assistant Auditor concerned had raised his objections, vide Annexure 4, and the petitioner has also made representation with regard to the issuance of the said illegal notifications, contained in Annexures 1 to 3, but no action has been initiated by the authorities of the State Governmen .....

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perintendent of Police, Economic Offence Unit, Bihar, and the Inspector General of Economic Offence Unit, Bihar, are not justified in omitting to register First Information Report against the guilty persons under the relevant penal provisions despite written complaints made by the petitioner, vide letters dated 02.04.2014 and 04.04.2014 (Annexures 6 and 7 respectively). 7. We have heard Mr. Dinu Kumar, learned Counsel for the petitioner, and Mr. Lalit Kishore, learned Principal Additional Advoca .....

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ation, dated 13.09.2007 (Annexure 1), without the approval of the Council of Ministers and that the rate of tax on stone chips, stone boulders and stone ballasts under the Entry Tax Act, 1993, has been reduced from 8% to 4% without the approval of the Cabinet vide Notification, dated 13.09.2007 (Annexure 2) are wholly misconceived, untrue and untenable. It is submitted that the petitioner has sought for such relief only on the basis of draft report, dated 23.05.2012, of the Comptroller and Audit .....

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the rate of 12.5%. 10. However, prior to 2007, there was some anomaly as stone chips was, at times, considered to fall within Entry 85 (Ores and Minerals) of Schedule III, which was taxable at 4%; whereas some officers were of the view that since stone chips and stone boulders having been not specified therein, it would attract the rate of tax at 12.5% and, as such, it was fixed at 12.5%. 11. Under Section 3 of the Bihar Entry Tax, the rate of tax, levied on stone chips, stone blasters and ston .....

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t, six draft notifications were sent to the Office of the Advocate General, which also included the proposal for reduction of tax on various items under different enactments, including proposal for reduction of rate of tax on stone chips and stone boulders. 13. Amongst the six draft notifications, one was with respect to addition of new entry being at Serial No.143, after Entry 142 of Part I of Schedule III, under the Bihar Value Added Tax, whereunder stone chips, stone boulders and stone ballas .....

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T on stone chips and stone boulders. 14. It is categorically submitted by the learned Principal Additional Advocate General that another draft notification was also vetted by the learned Advocate General, whereby reduction of tax under the Entry Tax Act on the aforesaid stone chips, stone boulders from 8% to 4%, was also proposed. 15. Mr. Lalit Kishore, learned Principal Additional Advocate General, appearing for the State of Bihar, also submits that the issue, raised by the writ petitioner that .....

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hich would be manifest from the perusal of the original records, which were produced before this Court (Flag-3 at page 44 of the original file). 16. Thus, it is contended that the draft, for reduction of tax under the VAT Act on the aforesaid items from 12.5% to 4% as well as reduction of Entry Tax from 8% to 4%, were duly prepared by the Administrative Department, which was consciously deliberated upon and vetted by the Law Department and Advocate General and, thereafter, the proposed six draft .....

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the approval of the Cabinet. 17. So far as Annexure 3 is concerned, it is submitted, in the writ application, that plate and cup, made of leaves, were brought in Schedule-I claiming to be goods under unspecified category and taxable at the rate of 12.5%. The Cabinet s approval for the same had been obtained. However, experience had revealed that such items, namely, plate and cup, made of leaves, were already, in Schedule III, under Entry No.73, being taxable at the rate of 4%. Hence, the Governm .....

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