Recently, the High Court of Telangana has observed that officials from the GST Intelligence Department can’t resort to physical violence against people they suspect of being guilty of tax evasion.
The aforesaid order was passed by a Division Bench of Telangana High Court comprising Hon’ble Justice MS Ramachandra Rao and Hon’ble Justice T Amarnath Goud.
Background of the Case:-
A petition was filed by a director and his relative wherein they had alleged that while conducting a raid, the GST officials had physically assaulted them.
The respondent department denied the allegation and contended that the petitioner and their employees had assaulted them instead.
Hon’ble Court referred to the Out-Patient DIscharge Summary of a Hospital where one of the petitioners had sought treatment and noted that he was injured so severely that he was unable to walk and required immediate medical treatment.
The Division Bench opined that the officials could not claim the liberty to use physical violence or torture during search, interrogation or investigation under the CGST Act against persons who are suspected of tax evasion.
After going through the evidence and circumstances of the case, the Court held that the possibility of use of violence by GST officials against the petitioners and their staff cannot be ruled out and directed that the petitioners and their staff should be examined in the visible range of their counsel although not in hearing range.
Title: M/s Agarwal Foundries Private Ltd. vs Union Of India
Case No.: WP No. 28268 of 2019
Date of Order:06.11.2020
Coram: Hon’ble Justice MS Ramachandra Rao and Hon’ble Justice T Amarnath Goud.