It’s pure dacoit, says Gujarat high court as GST officials seize SUV of Gujarat businessman
Fact and Issue of the case
A petition filed by Rakesh Sarasvadiya from Morbi, whose truck with goods was detained on 16th February 2021. Applicant was summoned to GST office in Ahmedabad, where he was detained for two days. GST officials seized his SUV, seven mobile phones, and three diaries before raiding his premises in Rajkot and Morbi.
Sarasvadiya approached the high court for release of his SUV and mobile phones. His truck was released after he paid the due amount levied by the department.
Observation of the court
When the judges came to know that the seizure was made by assistant commissioner, an officer below the rank of joint commissioner and who is not authorized by the GST Act to make seizure, they questioned the state government what the court should do with the officer.
After a brief discussion, the Chief Justice of High Court commented, that, This is dacoity. The judges kept their audio channel on while they were discussing the issue among themselves. Later the Chief Justice told the government lawyer that they want the government lawyer to hear what they were talking. This is pure dacoity.
The chief justice also criticized the seizure and questioned the procedure adopted in this case, and stated that The question is who can make a raid and who can make a seizure? If somebody is not authorized to carry out the raid and seizure enters my house, then it is trespassing. That is robbery. It is dacoity, if more than five people are there or it is a robbery.
The state government said that it was ready to release the SUV. The HC asked it to do it within a week because the court was informed that the officer involved in the seizure is down with Covid-19. The court has sought reply from the department in two weeks and posted hearing after the summer vacation.
The Gujarat High court directed that vehicle earlier seized under Section 67(2) of the GST Act and subsequently attached under Section 83 of the GST Act, 2017 would be released within a week from today i.e. by 13.5.2021. Rest of the goods seized and attached which include mobile phone and dairy may continue with the department if it so desired. If it is not required any further, the same may be considered for being released
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