The story over here is, the goods & services tax officers conducted a search on trader’s premises and stayed allegedly to his house from October 10 to October 18, 2019. This illegal stay ended only after the high court issued a notice to these officials. Trader’s relatives were kept under house arrest with SRP guards outside 24X7 hours. Relatives were not permitted to leave house without permission. The officials already had information they need when they had chat with trader’s mother and took away her phone, but they didn’t use any details.
This incident shocked the HC and it said, “It would be failing in its duty as a sentinel on the qui vive [meaning ‘on the alert or lookout’] if it were to turn a blind eye to the violation of the legal and fundamental rights of citizens by authoritarianism and remain a mute spectator.GST officials work could have been concluded on Day 1 itself, but they chose to stay for 8 days with the SRP outside the house to scare the family. No provision of the Code of Criminal Procedure for investigation, search or seizure empowers a police officer to remain at any premises once the search is over. This is nothing but a blatant abuse of powers.”
The Gujarat High court ruled that intimidating the trader’s family to extort confessions was tantamount to an offence u/s 348 of IPC (Indian Penal Code) for wrongful confinement to extort confession or compel restoration of property. This is punishable with a imprisonment up to 3 years.
Court further added that, “The stay of officials at trader’s House and intimidating the family members was not in good faith, thus, they won’t get any protection u/s 157(2) of the GST Act of criminal prosecution”.