Gujarat High Court: Paresh Upadhyay, J., allowed the petitions which were filed apprehending detention under PASA in connection with the Complaint filed by the State Tax Department in the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, under different sub-sections of Section 132 of the Gujarat Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 and Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 read with Section 120B of the Penal Code, 1860.
On 15-06-2021 it was informed to the Court that, atleast one of the petitioners could be detained under PASA, and while granting protection in favour of the petitioners, this Court had passed an order.
There was no response from the Finance Department of the State of Gujarat to the above-quoted query of this Court. Instead, affidavit in replies – all dated 22-07-2021 were 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 was stated that, no proposal was made to detain the petitioners under PASA so far, by the State GST Department.
The Court was of the view that not only the query raised by the Court qua the citizen – the trader community, in this case, was not responded by the competent Authority from the Finance Department of the State, the sword kept hanging over the head of the traders, because it was replied by the GST Department that no proposal was made to detain the petitioners under PASA so far. Citizen can not be left in lurch like this.
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.
The Court while allowing the petitions found 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.[Amitkumar Rameshbhai Patel v. State of Gujarat, R/Special Civil Application No. 6465 of 2021, decided on 18-08-2021]
Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.
For the Petitioners: Mr Tejas M Barot
For the Respondent: Mr Hardik Soni