The Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court on Tuesday said citizens could refuse to pay taxes by launching a “non-cooperation movement” if the government fails to check corruption.
This remark was made by justice Arun Chaudhari while hearing the bail petition of Prahlad Pawar, manager of the Lokshahir Annabhau Sathe Vikas Mahamandal, who along with sitting MLA Ramesh Kadam is accused of siphoning off Rs 385 crore meant for the welfare of the marginalised Matang community in Maharashtra.
The court rejected Pawar’s anticipatory bail application and charged him with misappropriation of Rs 24.69 crore by transferring the amount in the name of bogus beneficiaries.
Expressing hope that the police would act against those responsible, justice Chaudhari called on citizens to raise their voice against “this menace”.
“Let the government as well as mandarins in the corridors of power understand the excruciating pain and anguish of the taxpayers who have been suffering for over two decades in the state of Maharashtra,” the court observed. “There is an onerous responsibility on those who govern to prove to the taxpayers that eradication of corruption would not prove for them a forlorn hope.”
How the massive amount would be recovered is a million-dollar question, he said, adding that “it shocks one and all as to the shameless manner in which the taxpayers’ money is being swindled, misappropriated and robbed by such unscrupulous holders of posts.”
Justice Chaudhari said in order to eradicate the “hydra-headed monster” of corruption, it was now time for citizens to come together to tell their government that they have had enough, and to refuse to pay taxes by launching a “non-cooperation movement” if the state fails to act.
The court questioned why central and state government employees who protest for higher salaries or the roll out of the 7th pay commission never condemn their corrupt colleagues. “On the contrary, they provide support to such tainted persons,” he observed.
The state’s criminal investigation department had arrested Kadam in August last year in connection with financial irregularities worth several crores. Kadam, who was elected to the state assembly from Mohol in Solapur district as an NCP nominee in the 2014, was the chairman of the corporation between 2010 and 2014, when the alleged irregularities took place.