Allahabad High Court Sent Dy Commissioner IT to Jail in Contempt Case

Allahabad High Court, Lucknow Bench, Income Tax

The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has sent a Deputy Commissioner of the Income Tax Department to jail and imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 for contempt of court.

The court sentenced Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, Range-2, Lucknow Harish Gidwani to seven-day in jail after his “grossly reprehensible act” that disobeyed a seven-year-old order.
The court has asked Deputy Commissioner Gidwani to appear before the Senior Registrar of the court on December 22 at 3 pm and from there he will be sent to jail.

Radhika Singh, the lawyer of victim Prashant Chandra told the bench that the Income Tax Department had demanded Rs 54 lakh from Chandra in an assessment notice of 2011-12, which was quashed by the bench in 2015.

However, despite the bench’s order, the outstanding notice remained operative on the web portal of the department for seven months.

In its March 31, 2015 order, the high court had declared the demand as completely wrong but despite that order the demand was not removed from the portal of the Income Tax Department and by 2022 the outstanding notice was increased to Rs 90 lakh.

The plaintiff said as the Rs 90 lakh notice was visible on the portal, the Income Tax Department kept harassing him.

Even the banks stopped issuing credit card to the victim and were not even approving his loans which caused him great grief and trouble leading to mental pressure.

In 2016, a content petition was filed in which the income tax department was made a party. The Income tax department was told that their “demand is wrong”, yet the order of the court was not followed and the demand was not removed by Deputy Commissioner Harish Gidwani, said lawyer Radhika Singh.

The matter was heard by the court on September 28, 2022 and the court called up Gidwani and asked him as to why he should not be charged.

On Friday the order was passed by the High Court and Gidwani was sentenced.

The verdict was delivered by Justice Irshad Ali, who in his judgment said: “The fine alone would not meet the ends of justice because Gidwani is a senior officer, who is the custodian of assessing of the applicant and has committed a grossly reprehensible act and if he is not punished, it would send down a wrong signal to other officials of the income tax Department that even such un-business like conduct invites only a warning or fine.”

As per the court’s admission, Gidwani’s lawyer Manish Mishra, the outstanding amount was deleted from the web portal after seven months.

However, the bench said it amounted to “deliberate and wilful disobedience of the judgment of this court”.

The court also termed Gidwani’s action as “it is his purposeful act to harass the petitioner in spite of order of the court”.

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