HC Bench comes to the rescue of Sales Tax Officer

·2-min read

Chennai, July 14 (PTI) A division bench of the Madras High Court has come to the rescue of a Sales Tax Officer (STO), who was ordered to be placed under suspension and to subject him to disciplinary proceedings, by staying the order of a single judge.

The bench of Justices Pushpa Sathynarayana and Krishnan Ramaswamy granted the stay and ordered maintenance of status quo while passing interim orders on an appeal from D Mukunthan on July 12.

While passing interim orders on a batch of writ petitions from traders in intra-ocular lenses, filed from 2004, both before the Madras High Court and its bench at Madurai, Justice S M Subramaniyam last week directed the Commissioner of Commercial Taxes department to suspend Mukundan for giving false and misleading information to him in connection with sale of the lenses.

Originally, one of the petitioners -- Appasamy Associates-- sought to quash an order of the Commissioner issued in May 2007 and for a direction to grant exemption on the sales turnover of Intra-ocular lenses both under the TNGST Act and the CST Act, as the above goods are generally exempted from tax as goods falling under Item 2 of Part B to the Third Schedule to the TNGST Act.

The judge on July 6 had directed the Commissioner to place Mukundan under suspension with immediate effect, by initiating disciplinary proceedings under the Tamil Nadu Civil Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules and produce the copy of the suspension order before him on July 8.

Accordingly, the Commissioner took action.

Aggrieved, Mukundhan preferred the present appeal. His counsel cited the judgments passed by a division bench of the High Court in 2018 and that of the Supreme Court this year in favour of government officials.

The judgments highlighted the functions of the three pillars of a democracy, -- legislature, executive and the judiciary -- and the demarcation and separation of powers.

Satisfied, the bench granted the interim stay and posted the matter for further hearing on August 9. PTI COR SA APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR

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