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Talk of South-North tax divide is mischief, focus on court pendencies instead

That the payment of taxes is without quid pro quo is a basic lesson in law schools.

Updated: Aug 27, 2018, 17:10 PM IST

Shekar Gupta is a leading media personality. Recently, he had tweeted that South of India pays more tax and cannot take the burden of North India. South India should form a United States of South India. Such was the spirit of an unfortunate truth. What was he trying to do? Was there a hidden agenda? Was he speaking the language of forces inimical to unity of India? I earnestly believe so. Otherwise the statement could not have come at a time when the entire nation was united in sending help to the southernmost state of the country which was ravaged by natural calamity. Let me put my views across.

No quid pro quo in taxation
Law schools while teaching taxation statutes as a part of the curriculum always begin with the preamble that payment of taxes is without quid pro quo, or not in expectation of any consideration. This is ingrained into every graduate of the law. Hence, while paying taxes or while advising her/his clients or in other spheres of his profession, s/he never forgets this doctrine.

Lack of public returns
However, if the taxpayers of the country really felt their taxes are not yielding them public returns, they have several other issues to take up. The docket explosions in the courts itself would be their priority. The Supreme Court itself is having a pendency of close to 50,000 cases but oblivious of this, the highest court of the country opens its judges residence to hear petitions on the settled matter of terror perpetrator Yakub Memon, or the settled matter of the death of a judge, or even when a murder-convict cricketer is let off with a fine.

Not provoked in spite of lack of public return 
Never did the tax payers ever protest the grant of bails to Shekar Gupta's favourite political leadership, whose cause he always espouses, who are accused of huge money laundering in the National Herald case, or the wife killer from his camp who is allowed to travel abroad even on bail, which an ordinary mortal tax payer will not be granted. Surely, one of conditions for refusal of bail is that the accused could tamper with the evidence, which in the case of Shashi Tharoor, it is evident on the face of record that he had manipulated facts and still has been granted bail in contravention of general principle of grant of bail. 

Why this provocation?
If in the above eventuality, if the tax payers of the country did not contest, on small divisive issues of regional structures of tax collection and service consumption, surely the country cannot be provoked into division. Hence, Shekar Gupta's provocation is bound be futile. But at the same time it is divisive and disruptive. No questions about that. But the basic question is why did he start this? Was it his language? Let me try to answer this question.

Or is it hidden agenda?
During 2008, while being posted in Ministry of Home Affairs, I was privy to many an intelligence input. I shall recall one of the intelligence inputs I received:

"In 2008, we received inputs that politicians from UP and Bihar, bureaucrats, policemen, media personnel were honeytrapped, or forced to work for ISI, for other reasons. ---- Some of them even had converted and married, which was solemnized by a Pakistani cleric in a mosque in Mau-----"

I do not know whether the author of such a divisive statement was one of those compromised. But the statement itself betrays loyalty to ISI agenda.

It is not any personal insinuation on a journalist of such standing. I earnestly believe he is a nationalist and stands for the unity and integrity of India. Nor do I believe personally that he is on the list quoted above. 

Therefore, by making such statements on social media, Shekar Gupta is only demolishing my earnest belief in him and that of many of his countrymen.

(RVS Mani is a former Central government officer who shot to prominence as a whistleblower in 2009, when he alleged he had been forced to sign documents that fabricated a narrative of 'Saffron Terror'. His book, 'Hindu Terror: Insider account of Ministry of Home Affairs', was released recently.)

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL.)