Taking note of the outbreak of COVID 19 pandemic, the High Court of Kerala has passed a general order staying all coercive steps for recovery of Income Tax, VAT/GST, building tax, motor vehicle tax, , land revenue, SARFAESI etc till April 6.
"...I deem it appropriate to issue general directions to departments concerned like banks, financial institutions, Income Tax authorities, erstwhile KVAT, GST, recovery of tax on motor vehicles and building tax to defer the recovery proceedings or coercive measures till 06.04.2020", ordered Justice Amit Rawal.
The Court clarified that the order will not be an impediment for defaulters to avail any amnesty scheme, and to enter into settlement schemes with banks.
Departments are also given liberty to seek modification of the order in appropriate cases.
In cases where tax authorities are required to complete the assessment before March 31, they can be deferred subject to the order of the Court. But the assessees would not be able to raise the objection of limitation in those cases, clarified the Court.
In cases of seizure of goods by GST authorities, the Court clarified that the parties will be at liberty to move application for release of goods by furnishing bank guarantee, which shall not be encashed even if adjudication proceedings are culminated till such time the period for appeal under Section 107 has not lapsed.
The judge stated in the order that the directions were issued taking note of the precautionary measures to combat COVID 19.
"I found that handling of files by the High Court staff as well as the Advocate General staff is done without proper precautions as they are handled with bare hands instead of using protective measures like gloves etc", Justice Rawal noted in the order.
On Thursday, Allahabad High Court had passed a similar general order, staying all recovery steps by authorities till April 6.
Click here to download order