HC pulls up IT staff for not acknowledging letters

HC pulls up IT staff for not acknowledging letters

HC pulls up IT staff for not acknowledging letters

The Bombay High Court has pulled up the Income Tax office for the "casual approach" of its staff in not acknowledging letters received by them and their refusal to put therein the inward registration numbers.

Justice S J Kathawala, in a recent order, expressed unhappiness over this practice and asked the Income Tax authorities to take action against the erring clerks.

The judge also asked the department to forthwith issue a circular to the Commissioners of Income Tax of all the wards making it compulsory for the clerks to sign and put a serial or registration number on copies of letters received by them before handing them over to the bearer of the original letter.

The court was hearing a complaint lodged by the official assignee of Mumbai on an insolvency petition filed by a person. The official assignee had forwarded a letter dated April 18 to Income Tax Officer of Ward 15 (2) (3) at Grant Road here. The letter was received by a clerk, who put a rubber stamp on the first page of the letter.

The deputy official assignee drew the attention of the court to the fact that despite the rubber stamp having been provided to give the registration number to the letter, the same is left blank by the concerned clerk. When he was asked to fill in the registration number and put his signature on the rubber stamp, he refused to do so.

"If such is the attitude of the clerk receiving mails of the ward offices of the Income Tax Office, it would cause grave inconvenience to the persons addressing letters to the Ward Officer, more particularly, a common man, since he would not have the registration number qua the letter forwarded by him to the Income Tax authorities.
"He will also not have any particulars about the person who has received such a letter," the judge observed.

Pradeep Sharma, currently posted as Commissioner of Income Tax in the same Ward, filed an affidavit regarding the practice being followed in the Department regarding receipt of correspondence. He said a person receiving such correspondence is required to put serial or registration number and then hand over the same to the bearer of the letter.

Sharma further said the receiving clerk is also required to enter the particulars of the letter serially in the Inward Dak Register, which is maintained date-wise for each particular year.

With regard to unsigned and non-serial letters available before the High Court, the Income Tax Commissioner admitted that it was a mistake on the part of the receiving clerk, as he did not put his initial and serial number on the letter.

Thereupon, the court asked the authorities to take action against such erring clerks and forthwith issue a circular to all the offices directing the staff to sign and put a registration number on the letters received by them.

The judges also asked Prothonotary and Senior Master of the High Court to forward a copy of this order to the Commissioner of Income Tax (Judicial) who in turn was directed to forward the copy to all the Chief Commissioners, for being further forwarded to all the Commissioners of various wards for compliance.