The Supreme Court recently expunged some personal remarks made against a Commercial Tax Assessing Officer by the Karnataka High Court.
The single judge of Karnataka High court had made personal observations against Sujatha KC, who was Deputy Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, while disposing of a writ petition challenging an order of reassessment passed by her. Apart from that, the judge also imposed costs of Rs 50,000 and directed that the costs be recovered from the officers from her personal resources. The Division bench also dismissed the appeal filed by the officer who challenged the order of the Single Judge insofar as it contained observations against her and the order of costs.
The officer approached the Apex Court assailing the direction to recover costs from herand the observations made against her.
Perusing the records, the bench comprising of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra observed that the single Judge had no reasonable justification to hold that the petitioner had passed a whimsical order and that it suffered from malice in fact and in law.
"These observations were unnecessary for the adjudication of the merits of the dispute raised by the assessee. The conduct of the petitioner was not in question. Even assuming that an order passed by the assessing officer was erroneous, there was no reason for the High Court to make the observations, which we have quoted earlier, and direct the imposition of costs personally against the petitioner. ", the bench said.
The court then directed that the observations of the Single Judge as against the officer shall stand expunged. It also set aside the direction to recover the costs from the personal resources of the Officer. It clarified that the setting aside of the reassessment or the direction imposing of costs are not in question in the present SLP.
Case name: SUJATA K.C. vs. M/S KALYANI MOTORS (PVT) LTDCase no.: SLP (CIVIL) Diary No(s).8987/2020Coram: Justices DY Chandrachud and Indu MalhotraCounsel: Advocate K G Kamath