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Arrest is a serious matter and cannot be made in a routine manner on a mere allegation of a GST offence: High Court

Bombay High Court deprecate the practice of keeping a person overnight under the guise of recording statements in GST.

A Division Bench of Bombay High Court made the observations while granting interim bail to the petitioner, who was arrested by GST officers after being detained overnight.

Court deprecated the practice of keeping a person overnight under the guise of recording of his statement, irrespective of whether the person volunteered or not. Arrest is a serious matter and cannot be made in a routine manner on a mere allegation of commission of an offence, inasmuch as, an arrest can cause incalculable harm to the reputation and self esteem of a person.

Petitioner:

Petitioner arrived at the CGST office at 1:30 pm on 13th March 2024; was kept overnight; and was arrested on the next day i.e. 14th March 2024 at 7:30 pm; that thereafter, the petitioner was detained with the Santacruz Police Station, Mumbai, and thereafter, produced before the learned Magistrate on 15th March 2024 at 3:30 pm.

He submitted that the actions of the respondent No. 2 are highly questionable, the detention of the petitioner high-handed and thus illegal, warranting petitioner’s immediate release.

Mr. Ponda submitted that there was no reason for the petitioner to be detained overnight and if the respondent No. 2 did not have the documents, the petitioner could have well been called on some other day or even on the next day, instead of keeping him overnight.

He submitted that infact, the petitioner’s wife was even constrained to call `100’, considering the illegal detention of the petitioner by the respondent No. 2, pursuant to which, the police visited the respondent No. 2’s office.

He submitted that the case in which the petitioner is arrested, is an old case pertaining to 2021 and that the petitioner was arrested, despite paying taxes and as such, the arrest smacks of arbitrariness and high-handedness. 

Revenue:

Learned ASG, opposed the petition and submitted that the arrest was legal and there is no merit in the submission of the petitioner that he was illegally detained by the respondent No. 2.

Learned ASG relied on the affidavit filed by the respondent No. 2, setting out the timeline from the time, the petitioner entered the office of the respondent No. 2 till he was produced before the Magistrate. He submitted that even the delay has been well explained by the respondent No. 2 in their affidavit.

High Court:

Having heard learned counsel for the respective parties, prima facie, we are in agreement with the submissions advanced by Mr. Ponda i.e. that the petitioner appears to have been detained for more .......
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TaxReply


May 13, 2024


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