VIJAY PAHWA Vs. SAMIR MUKHOPADHYAY
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
SAMIR MUKHOPADHYAY, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX
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AJOY NATH RAY, J. -
(1.)ON 17th April, 1995 certain IT authorities visited the chamber of Dr. Vijay Pahwa, an eye Surgeon, being the writ-petitioner, purporting to conduct a survey under s. 133A of the IT Act, 1961. A document has been produced in Court, which has been kept countersigned by my Officer, which shows that there was no obstruction put by Dr. Pahwa or any facility withheld by him from allowing a survey to be made. The officers conducted a survey. Clothed with the large powers given to them by IT Act as amended uptodate, they started acting in a manner people do in autocratic countries where there is no check on petty Government Officials. Apparently, they immediately served on 17th April, 1995 itself summons upon Dr. Pahwa for production of documents. Such summons can be served under s. 131(1) only in case of obstruction by the person concerned or when some sort of hindrance is put up by him. The summon was immediately executed on the same day within 30 minutes or so. All the books of Dr. Pahwa reached the IT Office. Immediately thereafter those books were impounded at the office of the IT authorities. All this happened on 17th April, 1995.
(2.)DR. Pahwa's assessments are complete and up-to-date. There is no pending adjudication where the summoning power can be used at all. In any event, how can the summons be issued for production on the same day and the books instantaneously impounded ? Now, there are other powers for search and seizure. There are other powers for reopening of completed assessments. These were not utilized. Under the garb of conducting a simple survey under s. 133A, books of DR. Pahwa were seized without any apparent authority. The ITOs and authorities do not have any power to interrupt the ordinary peaceful citizens of the country in any manner they like by utilizing the large powers given to them, without keeping strictly within the four corners of those large powers. Since the powers vested are large, even a millimetre of departure therefrom must be immediately shorn off by the impartial Courts of law if this country is to continue to remain a free one. In the instant case, there has not been merely one millimetre of departure but of several kilometres from within permitted powers. There will be interim orders in terms of prayer (e) the first alternative, and prayers (f) and (g). Since the respondents have appeared no formal Rule need be drawn up or served. Affidavit-in- opposition is to be filed within 6 weeks from date, affidavit in reply within 3 weeks thereafter and the matter to appear on the working day following. The above observations are without prejudice in the writ but Samir Mukhopadhyay, the respondent No. 1, who was the leader of the operation in the above apparently illegal procedure and highhanded actions, will personally pay today's costs to the writ petitioner assessed at Rs. 35,000 irrespective of the subsequent result of the writ. The costs, should be paid within a fortnight from date hereof, if not paid, the same can be executed on the Original Side in the executing Court on the basis of a copy of this dictated order subject to the pleasure of the learned Judge taking up that list, or, at the choice of the writ petitioner by instituting a contempt proceedings in this Court before me.
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