DB issues various directives to CS

PIL seeks recovery of ST
arrears worth crores

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, June 15: Division Bench of State High Court comprising Chief Justice, M M Kumar and Justice J P Singh today issued various directions to the Chief Secretary for effecting the recovery of Sales Tax arrears worth crores of rupees from the defaulters. The Chief Secretary was also directed to furnish within two weeks the list of those defaulters from whom recovery has been made with effect from April 1, 2011 till the filing of the status report.
The directions were issued in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Balvinder Singh and others.
After hearing Senior Advocate Sunil Sethi with Advocate Dewakar Sharma appearing for the PIL, Advocate Rohit Kapoor appearing for Finance Dept and AAG J Parihar for the State, the Division Bench expressed displeasure over the slow pace of recovery by the State respondents.
“The PIL discloses ugly face of the administration as recovery of commercial taxes running into hundred of crores of rupees has been kept pending”, the DB said, adding “the lip service, which is shown to have been resorted to in the present litigation, would highlight the reason other than the one which could result into effecting the recovery of taxes”.
“In many cases, the reason for non-recovery cited is that warrant of arrest was issued but the person has not been found by the police. Even after eight times issuance of warrant of arrests, further steps by the administration have not been taken by attaching the property or auctioning the same”, the DB said, adding “the collection of revenue is the primary resource for providing public service to the citizens of the State. If the taxes are not recovered, the State is bound to be funds starved. Therefore, it is duty of the State to ensure recovery of its taxes”.
“The court is left with the impression that whether on account of connivance of the tax payer with the department or for other reasons, the taxes are not being recovered. The excuse put forward is that the Police Department is not cooperating. If that be so, then nothing prevents the authorities to initiate disciplinary action under the Police Rules against such officer/ official who is disobeying the order of execution of warrant of arrest, attachment or even sale”, the DB further said, adding “there is no dearth of power with the State to enforce its order if there is a will”.
With these observations, the DB directed the Chief Secretary to file an affidavit mentioning that if there was non-cooperation from the Police Department then what action has been proposed against the officers, who are disobeying the directions of the authorities because there is ample power under the Police Rules to initiate disciplinary action against in-disciplined police officers and officials.
The order of wide public importance written by Chief Justice for the Division Bench said that a table of cases be prepared in which warrants of attachment have been issued along with the dates and whether the sale of property has been ordered or not. “The reasons shall also be disclosed for not taking the steps by selling the property”, the order said.
The directions have also been issued to the effect that report be also submitted with regard to the defaulters who have been put under the category “migrant” from valley and why the identification of such persons could not be established by seeking the information from the Relief Commissioner.

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