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NTTU files writ petition against illegal taxation

By EMN Updated: Sep 26, 2019 11:05 pm

Dimapur, Sep. 26 (EMN): Aggrieved by unabated illegal taxation at check gates, particularly at Pfutsero, Lalmati, Peducha and Chümoukedima, Nagaland Timber Traders’ Union (NTTU) has filed a writ petition seeking direction from the concerned department to issue Transit Permit (TP)/ Pass to discourage illegal tax collection.
The writ petition was filed by NTTU president, Kevise Sogotsu and others versus the state of Nagaland in the Gauhati High Court, Kohima Bench, on September 4 and moved the motion on September 5.

The petitioners claimed that members of the union carrying timber from Kiphire to Dimapur had to pay INR 61,000 as tax on the way. It added that the department of Forest (respondent) refused to issue Transit Pass (TP) for the last three years, which subsequently emboldened the personnel of the department including other departments like police, taxes, municipalities etc also to collect illegal tax from the members of the NTTU.

The petitioners stated that rampant taxation has taken heavy toll on the traders as the entire profit margin is being taken away by tax. The union also stated that approached to the authorities for redressal had not yielded any positive result.

It has made reference to Section 40 of the Nagaland Forest Act of 1968, which envisages the fixed rate of issuing Transit Pass (TP) to the traders to the extent of which the Act extends (Nagaland). The petitioners also stated that refusal to issue TP and collecting taxes without issuing receipt to the traders prima facie exposes the criminal intent of the respondent department to collect illegal tax.

It was of the opinion that once the TP is issued to the traders, all the other authorities would be deterred from collecting illegal tax.

The petitioners also made reference to the chief secretary order dated 22nd June, 2009, which banned illegal tax collection on highways by organisations including the police, forest, excise, taxes, etc. The High Court also by judgment and order dated 3.6.2014 had banned tax collection on highways without authority. The petitioners alleged that despite the standing order of the state and the judgment and order of the High Court, rampant illegal tax collection amounting to extortion continued unabated.

Aggrieved by the inaction of the department and illegalities committed by the personnel on duty at the check gates, NTTU has filed the writ petition seeking direction from the department to issue Transit Permit/ Pass to the petitioner’s union to discourage illegal tax collection.

Meanwhile, NTTU has extended full support and solidarity to the Public Action Committee (PAC) of the Naga Council Dimapur (NCD) for initiating a mass movement to stop all illegal taxations at check gates.

NTTU president Kevise Sogotsu said the union has been all along voicing out against illegal collection of tax especially by government departments and till date the fight for justice continues.

NTTU further appealed to all sections of society to join hands to eradicate the menace of taxation once and for all.

By EMN Updated: Sep 26, 2019 11:05:43 pm