Audi alteram partem not followed by Bihar Tax Authority.

In the High Court of judicature at Patna under civil writ jurisdiction, a petition filed challenging the an order passed by the Bihar Tax Authority for rejecting the petitioner’s desire to settle the tax amount.

The bench comprising of the Chief Justice of Patna High Court Sanjay Karol and Justice S Kumar set aside a cryptic order passed by an authority as “non-application of mind” for the Bihar Tax Authority. 

The Bihar Settlement of Taxation Dispute Act,2019 has a mechanism for the payment of outstanding tax dues accruing from legal proceedings before December 2017.

The petitioner had filed a writ of certiorari to strike the order passed by the tax authority and writ of mandamus for the respondents (government authorities) to accept the settlement application filed by him for the entry tax liability. 

The petitioner is in legal trouble since 2009, in past approached the Authority to settle certain amounts of tax remained unpaid. The application was rejected under the order passed on 24th June 2020.  

The High Court observed that the order passed earlier: –

Does not refer to any one of the facts stated by the petitioner

Non-application of mind for not considering the petitioner intent and desire 

Violated Principle of natural justice by not passing reasonable order as cited in the Hon’ble Apex Court in Dharmpal Satyapal Limited vs. Deputy Commissioner of Central Excise, Gauhati and Ors. [(2015) 8 SSC 519] had elaborated.

The High court quashed the previous order passed by authority and directed to have afresh order to be passed following the law with reasonable reasons and shall be conducted online due to time-bound limitation. 

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