June 30, 2017
The mockery of Inspector Raj is back: Mamata Banerjee on GST
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee put up a post on Facebook today, expressing her fears on GST in the present form.
She said that now “freedom and democracy stand to face grave danger”. Among other things, she criticised the “rather draconian arrest clause which can lead to major harassment of business, particularly the small and medium, with some sections even being non-bailable”.
Her full Facebook post is given below:
At the stroke of midnight on 14th August, 1947, India won her freedom.
Now, at the midnight of 30th June, 2017, freedom and democracy stand to face grave danger.
The mockery of Inspector Raj is back.
I am shocked to find that the GST rules contain a rather draconian arrest clause which can lead to major harassment of business, particularly the small and medium, with some sections even being non-bailable too.
I would like to point out that under the current VAT regime, the field officials of the State do not have the power to arrest. If they feel that there is a serious tax offence, then they will have to file a FIR and pursue the due process of law.
But in the case of GST, the Inspectors will have the power to arrest on 4 different types of offences which can lead to jail from 1 year upto 5 years.
West Bengal opposed this arrest clause in the GST Council but the Government of India did not pay any heed.
In fact, in the name of GST, they have deviated in many areas from the original intent.
Given the atmosphere in the country of vindictively targeting anyone who dares to disagree with the Central Government, I am deeply concerned that the arrest clause in GST may well be used to target business leaders who raise their voice of dissent on any policy matter or any practices.
I am afraid, from the midnight of today, will darkness loom large in the lives of entrepreneurs and common people?