GST officials can’t resort to “Physical Violence” while conduct interrogation

Agarwal Foundries Private Limited vs Union of India 

The question which arises for consideration in this Writ Petition is whether officials belonging to the G.S.T. Intelligence Department of the Union of India can resort to physical violence while conducting interrogation of the petitioners and their employees in connection with proceedings initiated against the petitioners by the respondents under the C.G.S.T. Act, 2017 and I.G.S.T. Act, 2017.

HELD BY HC that , 

Merely because the authorities under the CGST Act, 2017 are not to be treated as police officials, they cannot claim any immunity if they indulge in acts of physical violence against persons they suspect of being guilty of tax evasion. Our country has enacted the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 for protection of human rights in the country in fulfillment of its obligations as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 16.12.1966.

Under this Act, there are provisions for constitution of a National Human Rights Commission and also State Human Rights Commissions and their powers are set out with clarity under the Act. Reference can also be made to Section 30 of the said Act which provides for specification of a Court of Session in each District to be a Human Rights Court by the State Government so that offences arising out of violation of human rights are tried and disposed of speedily.

In view of this statutory regime already in place, it would be futile for the respondents to claim any liberty to torture or use physical violence during the course of search, investigation or interrogation under the CGST Act, 2017 against persons suspected of tax evasion like the petitioners or their employees.

The details of the case can be accessed here : ckhlkurazhmmd0874i9fclnwy|Agarwal Fo

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