Taking an adverse view of certain Income Tax department officials not adhering to stipulated office timings, the CBDT has warned defaulters to mend their ways as this was causing inconvenience to taxpayers.
The apex policy making body of the department has asked all its supervisory officers in the country to enforce work time schedules and rules for taking leave in their respective jurisdictions, strictly.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in its latest order of August 7 said it has been brought "to the notice of the Board that some officers or staff of the Income Tax department are leaving their stations/headquarters early on Fridays, during weekend and holidays and joining their duties late on next working day.
"It is further noticed that many a times no permission is being taken from the superior controlling authorities before leaving station or headquarters as required under the rules.
"It is stated that apart from disturbing decorum and office discipline, this practise of leaving stations or headquarters by the officers or staff without permission and not observing the office timings, is causing inconvenience to the taxpayers and members of public who visit Income tax offices in connection with their tax matters," the order said emphasising these instances have been viewed "adversely" by the CBDT including Chairperson Anita Kapur herself.
Keeping in mind these incidents, the order asked all cadre controlling and supervisory officers of the department to instruct officers and staff working under them "to refrain from leaving their station without prior permission and to strictly observe the prescribed office timings."
A senior I-T official said these instructions have been issued as part of effective and prompt grievance redressal mechanisms taken up by the CBDT to reduce taxpayers' troubles.
The CBDT, while issuing these instructions, has also invoked the standing instructions of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) which state "failure to obtain permission of competent authority before leaving station or headquarter is to be viewed seriously and may entail disciplinary action."
"Moreover, Article 56 of the Civil Service Regulations also provides that no officer is entitled to pay and allowance for any time he may spend beyond the limits of his charge without authority," the DoPT instructions stipulate.
The CBDT has, in recent times, issued a number of instructions to the I-T department fors resolving taxpayers' grievances and problems in a time-bound manner as even Prime Minister Narendra Modi few months back asked the department to put its house in order in this regard.