The High Court sentenced the Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax to 7 days imprisonment
This order of the High Court has created panic among other officers as well. Often the officers flout the orders of the court and become adept at delaying the case by playing tricks but this decision of the court has become a precedent for all those officers, who deliberately defy the court.
The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has sentenced Harish Gidwani, Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, to seven days' simple imprisonment in a contempt case, while giving a stern message to the officials who are taking the court's order lightly. Along with this, a fine of Rs 25 thousand has also been imposed on him. This order of the High Court has created panic among other officers as well. Often the officers flout the orders of the court and become adept at delaying the case by playing tricks. But this decision of the court has become a precedent for all those officers, who deliberately defy the court.
The order to send the deputy commissioner to jail for 7 days was passed by a single bench of Justice Irshad Ali on a contempt petition filed by Prashant Chandra. The bench, in its order, has asked him (Gidwani) to appear before the senior registrar of the court at 3 pm on December 22, from where he will be sent to jail to serve the sentence. The court said in its judgment that if this senior officer who commits contempt is not punished, then a wrong message will be sent to other officers and they (officers) will assume that what will happen if contempt is done, at most the court will give a warning or impose a fine.
The petitioner had stated in his petition that he was sent an assessment notice by the Income Tax Department in Lucknow for the year 2011-12 of about Rs 52 lakhs, while he had filed his income tax from Delhi. On his petition, the High Court on 31 March 2015 set aside the said notice and other orders passed in its pursuance. The petitioner alleged that despite the order of the High Court, this outstanding notice was available on the website of the Income Tax Department for seven months, due to which his reputation was badly hurt. On this allegation of the petition, Income Tax Department's advocate Manish Mishra in his reply admitted that the outstanding notice was removed from the website after seven months. Taking a strict stand on this, the bench said that it is clear from the role of Gidwani in the present case that despite the order, he did not remove the outstanding notice from the website with the intention of harassing the petitioner, so in this case only fine is not enough.