The Kerala High Court on Friday
directed a top bureaucrat of the state industries department to plant 100 saplings for the inordinate delay in enforcing a court directive in a tax-related matter filed by a private chemical industry.
Justice Amit Rawal, in an extraordinary proceeding, issued directive to IAS officer and director of Industries and Commerce K Biju to plant the 100 saplings as a penalty for the inordinate delay by his department in enforcing a court order on grant of exemption to the industry.
Also,the court directed the government to take appropriate action against other government officials responsible for the delay.
The court had, in 2007, granted a two-month-long stay on a plea of the company on the disputed issue of collection of tax from it on condition that it remit Rs 5 lakh towards the demand not covered by the claim exemption.
The petitioner remitted Rs 5 lakh but the state-level committee on tax exemption did not dispose of the appeal on time as submitted before the High Court.
Again, the petitioner approached the High Court in 2008 and the court directed a fresh time-limit for disposal and staying the recovery steps.
However, a hearing on the matter was conducted by the state-level committee eight years later in 2016 much after the time-limit fixed by the High Court.
But no orders were communicated to the petitioner and petitioner again approached the High Court questioning the delay in taking the decision on the matter.
Taking a serious note of matter, Justice Amit Rawal directed the IAS officer to be physically present in the court and directed him to plant the saplings for the delay in settling the dispute.
The court directed the Forest Department to identify the places where the trees are to be planted and submit a list to the court.
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