Autonomy For Income Tax Department

The Supreme Court of India would like the central bureau of investigation to be granted functional autonomy so that it can investigate corruption cases without any interference of the executive. The government disagrees. The court has yet to make the final pronouncement. But the growing corruption, its ability to pervert the democratic form of government and rig the rule of law make a case for autonomy of the income tax department first. The reason is that the CBI comes in to the picture after a crime is committed, meaning damage has been done. The income tax department can check the happening of crime by busting the designs of the criminal or criminal syndicates. It is widely acknowledged that politics in India has been criminalized. The legislatures have been invaded by criminals who win elections on the strength of money and muscle power. They have made the governments dysfunctional and paralyzed administration. They are vindictive of honest public servants and openly threaten them. There is urgent need to investigate the source of such arrogance in them. A quick analysis of the assets of these politicians reveals that before winning an election they were not in the category of income tax payers. But in a short term of 5 years the value of assets of such a person goes in to several millions. Mostly it is the proceed of some crime like smuggling, drugs, trafficking, murder or terror. He is also a generator of black money. He finds that his peers escape the long arm of the law and unabashedly indulge in corruption and defend it also stoutly. It is possible only because of the failure of tax authorities to ignore their unlawful earnings, because they can take action only if the political executive gives them clearance to proceed in accordance with the law. The executive has to compromise with criminals if it has to keep the government intact. So the vicious circle is complete and kicking! When there is no fear of the law, there is no respect for the law. Why will anybody bother for the law enforcement agencies in such a situation? Unless the enforcement agencies are given autonomy they can take no action against the income tax dodgers and perpetrators of economic crimes.

Economic crimes if allowed unchecked have the potential of ruining the economy of a country. It impacts the democratic set up in the country. It has the dreadful effect on administration generally and making the government non functional. Currently we are witnessing it happen in India. For a healthy and vibrant democracy and economy, we must bring to an end the nefarious activities of economic offenders. For this to happen, the immediate administrative reform required is to grant full autonomy to the income tax department and other associated revenue authorities. Most big crimes are for money. If the growth of illegal money is checked, the crime graph in the country will register a drastic drop. The autonomy of the tax authorities alone can ensure it. Then there might be no need to release the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from the cage.

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