Kerala HC in the case of Rajive And Company Versus The Assistant Commissioner
Rajive And Company
The Assistant Commissioner
Facts of the Case:
The petitioners have approached this Court through the present writ petitions at various stages during an investigation that is ongoing into the affairs of the petitioners under the GST Act, at the instance of the respondents. In the writ petition, it is the case of the petitioners that their request for copies of documents, that were seized by the respondents in connection with the ongoing investigation, has been illegally turned down by the respondents, and further, while the petitioners have their business activities centered around Karunagappally, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, and Ernakulam respectively, the investigation has been based in Ernakulam, which causes inconvenience to the petitioners in that they have to carry their records pertaining to the other branches all the way to Ernakulam for participating in the investigation proceedings. The prayer in the writ petition, therefore, is for direction to the respondents to issue copies of the seized documents, as also for a transfer of the investigation to Kollam so that the petitioners are not inconvenienced in the investigation process initiated by the respondents.
Observations of the Court:
On a consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case and the submissions made across the Bar, I find that the petitioners will no doubt be entitled to seek copies of the documents seized from their premises, if and when they are confronted by the respondents with any notice or other proceeding, wherein reliance is placed on the said seized documents. I, therefore, make it clear that in the event of any notice or other proceedings being issued to the petitioners in connection with the investigation that is currently ongoing, wherein reference is made to any document seized from the petitioners, the respondents shall permit the petitioners to take copies of those documents relied upon in the said notice/proceedings, before proceeding further in the matter. After the stage of an investigation, the respondents shall return to the petitioners, all such seized documents as are not relied upon by them for proceeding further against the petitioners.
The decision of the Court:
As regards the prayer of the petitioners for a transfer of the files to Kollam and to base the investigation in Kollam, I am of the view that the said prayer of the petitioners cannot be acceded to. In matters of investigation, the respondents are to be given a certain degree of leeway while deciding such administrative matters such as the place at which an investigation is to be based and the manner in which it is to proceed. With such administrative decisions of the investigating authority, this Court would be loath to interfere, in proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.
I, therefore, dispose of the writ petition by rejecting the prayer of the petitioners for a transfer of the investigation to Kollam, and by directing the respondents to furnish copies of the documents seized from the petitioners, in the manner indicated above.
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