HC slams Commercial Taxes Department for chasing defaulters after deliberate lapse of payment

The Madras HC on suo motu impleading the Secretary, Commercial Taxes and Registration Department and the Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, has directed them to issue suitable orders to all the subordinate authorities to identify the cases where either no action or belated action has been taken to collect tax or arrears of tax and initiate appropriate action against officials for such lapses.
HC slams Commercial Taxes Department for chasing defaulters after deliberate lapse of payment
Madras High Court (File Pic)

Chennai

Justice S M Subramaniam was passing orders on a plea wherein the arrears of sales tax for the years 2000-2001 and 2001-2002, is sought to be recovered by issuing notice to the third-party purchaser of the property in the year 2012.
Pointing out that there is a blatant lapse on the part of the Competent Authorities of the commercial Tax Department in pursuing the matter for recovery of arrears of sales tax, the court directed the suo motu impleaded respondents to coordinate with the Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption and conduct frequent surprise raids to control the menace of corrupt activities of demand and acceptance of bribe or receipt of freebies from the business community across the State of Tamil Nadu.
“If any such offenses are identified, then all actions, including criminal action, are to be initiated under the relevant laws, ” the court held. It also sought for the verification of service records of the officials of the Commercial Tax Department and compared with the actual assets of the family members as well as the declared assets in the service records and action initiated in the event of any disproportionality of wealth being identified.
The court also called for periodical review of all long pending cases regarding State revenue and speedy steps taken to protect the interest of State revenue and the interest of the public at large.
“Decent amount of salary has been paid to the Government officials. The salary paid by the Government is, undoubtedly, more competitive than that of the salary being offered by the private players. By virtue of Government appointment, the officials are holding a status in the society. Therefore, they are bound to act in the interest of people at large and any failure or illegality must be dealt with strictly in accordance with law, ” Justice Subramaniam stressed.

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