The Gujarat high court on Wednesday said that the state government should not keep the sword of PASA hanging over traders on issues pertaining to GST when the economy is trying to regain momentum following the Covid-19 situation.
Justice Paresh Upadhyay also ordered the government to restraint itself from taking stringent action like detention under PASA in GST cases.
The case involved three traders Amit kumar Patel, Sanjay P Patel and Sanjay kumar M Patel who have been charged under Section 132 of the GST Act and criminal conspiracy for alleged multi-state scam. The case against them is pending in a local court. They feared invocation of PASA and moved the HC for protection.
The state government told the court that one of them could be detained under PASA. The government also submitted that a proposal is being contemplated to detain them under PASA, but when the decision would be taken was not certain.
This led the HC to ask the state finance department whether such a sword should be kept hanging on the trader community. The government did not respond to this query and instead the state’s GST department said that there was no proposal made to detain them under PASA so far. The HC took strong exception to the use of words “so far” and observed, “Citizens cannot be left in the lurch like this. When the state on the whole and the economy in particular is trying to regain the momentum postCovid, such hanging sword situation cannot be permitted to continue.” The court further said, “In facts like this, the state authorities cannot be permitted to resort to stringent provisions like detention under the PASA against the petitioners. The state is restrained from resorting to the said option against the petitioners in these cases.”