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Sword of detention under PASA (Prevention of Anti Social Activities Act) cannot be kept hanging over the head of trader community in GST matters: High Court rules. 

"A big relief for traders community."

The petitioners apprehended detention under PASA (Prevention of Anti Social Activities Act) in connection with the Complaint filed by the State Tax Department under different sub-sections of Section 132 of the GST Act read with Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code.

In response to the notice of this Court, on 15.06.2021 it was informed to the Court that, atleast one of the petitioners could be detained under PASA. 

The issue involved in the mater is, whether in the cases of discrepancies in GST, sword of detention under PASA should be kept hanging over the head of the trader community. Further, if at all in a given case such proposal is contemplated, at what stage that decision should be taken is also an issue, for which the response from the State is required.

There is no response from the Finance Department of the State of Gujarat to the above quoted query of this Court. Instead, affidavit are filed on behalf of the Gujarat Goods and Services Tax Department, wherein, over and above giving details of the allegations against the petitioners, in the concluding part it is stated that, no proposal is made to detain the petitioners under PASA so far, by the State GST Department.

The above shows that, not only the query raised by the Court qua the citizen - the trader community in this case, is not responded by the competent Authority from the Finance Department of the State, the sword is kept hanging over the head of the traders, because it is replied by the GST Department that no proposal is made to detain the petitioners under PASA so far. Citizen can not be left in lurch like this. Further, when the State on the whole and the economy in particular is trying to regain the momentum post COVID, such hanging sword situation can not be permitted to continue.

Having heard learned advocates for the respective parties and having considered the material on record and also the above noted factors, this Court finds that, in the facts like this, the State Authorities can not be permitted to resort to the stringent provisions like detention under the Prevention of Anti Social Activities Act against the petitioners. The State is restrained from resorting to the said option against the petitioners in these cases.


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TaxReply


Aug 30, 2021


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