CHENNAI: In a remarkable development, Justice SM Subramaniam of Madras High Court had recently written to the registry to deduct the professional tax for the employees of the chartered court and its Madurai bench.
In his letter, Justice Subramaniam said that non-payment of professional tax by High Court employees since 1998 has been causing a whopping loss of Rs 59.82 lakh per year.
“Considering the public interest involved in this matter and taking note of the huge financial losses occurring continuously to the State Exchequer and considering the fact that across the State, all the Government employees, Subordinate Judiciary Officials, and the Secretariat employees are paying the professional tax, all along as per the provisions of the Professional Tax Act and the Government Orders, the Registrar-General has to act immediately,” the judge said in the letter.
He further claimed that there is no exemption that has been granted by the State government to the HC employees. "Almost 12 lakh government servants are paying the professional tax, including the secretariat staff. That being the case, there is no reason whatsoever to grant a waiver from the payment of professional tax to High Court employees alone,” the judge said in his letter.
The State passed an order in 1998 to collect professional tax dues from all the defaulters, according to the judge.
He further pointed out that an association for the employees challenged several provisions of Tamil Nadu Tax on Professionals, Trades, Callings, and Employments Act 24 of 1992 to avail exemption from paying the professional tax and the same is still pending.
Justice Subramaniam expressed his doubt about whether the association is manipulating the case bundle in the matter of listing the said writ petition before the court concerned.
“It is very unfortunate that the Madras High Court and Madurai Bench of Madras High Court Officers Staff Association taking undue advantage of the pendency of the above-said writ petition and evading payment of professional tax for several years, resulting in huge financial loss to the state exchequer. It is further unfortunate that the writ petition of the year 1998 is kept pending for the past about 24 years without any acceptable reason,” Justice Subramaniam added.
The judge also claimed that there is no interim order of HC in place restricting the High Court employees from paying the professional tax.
The judge wrote this letter after receiving a complaint on September 19 from one C Selvaraj, General Secretary, Anti Corruption Teams India alleging the issue that none of the staff and judges are not making the payment of professional tax for several years.