|71.Disclosure of information by a public servant M. VAT ACT|
71.Disclosure of information by a public servant
(1) All particulars contained in any statement made, return furnished or accounts or documents produced in accordance with this Act, or in any record of evidence given in the course of any proceedings under this Act (other than proceeding before a Criminal Court), or in any record of any assessment proceeding, or any proceeding relating to the recovery of a demand, prepared for the purposes of this Act shall, save as provided in sub-section (3), be treated as confidential; and notwithstanding anything contained in the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, no Court shall save as aforesaid, be entitled to require any servant of the Government to produce before it any such statement, return, account, document or record or any part thereof, or to give evidence before itin respect thereof.
(2) Save as provided in sub-section (3). if any servant of the Government discloses any of the particulars referred to in sub-section (1), he shall. on conviction, be punished with imprisonment which may extend to six months or with fine or with both:
Provided that, no prosecution shall be instituted under this section except with the previous sanction of the State Government.
(3) Nothing contained in this section shall apply to the disclosure of,—
(a) any such particulars in respect of any such statement, return, accounts, documents, evidence, affidavit or deposition, for the purpose of any prosecution under the Indian Penal Code or the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, or this Act, or any other law for the time being in force; or
(b) any such particulars to the State Government or to any person acting in the execution, or for the purposes, of this Act; or
(c) any such particulars when such disclosure is occasioned by the lawful employment under this Act of any process for the service of any notice or the recovery of any demand; or
(d) any such particulars to a Civil Court or a Tribunal constituted under any central law in any suit, to which the Government is a party, which relates to any matter arising out of any proceeding under this Act; or
(e) any such particulars to any officer appointed to audit receipts or refunds of the tax imposed by this Act; or
(f) any such particulars where such particulars are relevant for the purposes of any inquiry into the conduct of an official of the Sales Tax Department. to any person or persons appointed as an inquiry officer under any relevant law ; or
(g) such facts to an officer of the Central Government or any State Government as may be necessary for the purpose of enabling that Government to levy or realise any tax or duty imposed by it: or
(h) any such particulars, when such disclosure is occasioned by the lawful exercise by a public servant of his powers under the Bombay Stamp Act, l95 or the Indian Stamp Act, 1899, to impound an sufficiently stamped document; or
(i) any such particulars where such particulars are relevant to any inquiry into a charge of misconduct in connection with sales tax proceedings against a legal practitioner, sales tax practitioner, cost accountant or chartered accountant, to the authority, if any, empowered to take disciplinary action against the members practising the profession of a legal practitioner, sales tax practitioner, cost accountant or chartered accountant, as the case may be; or
(j) any such particulars to the Director, Bureau of Economics and Statistics or any officer serving under him or to any person or persons authorised under sub-section (2) of section 70 as may he necessary for enabling the Director or such person or persons to carry on their official duties; or
(k) any such particulars to any agency appointed for the purposes of data entry on any automated system or for the purpose of operating, upgrading or maintaining any automated system where such agency is contractually bound not to use or disclose such particulars except for the aforesaid purposes ; or
(l) any such particulars to an officer of the Central Government or any State Government as may he necessary for the administration of, or for the purposes of inquiry or prosecution under, any law in force in any part of India.