WEDNESDAY, July 03, 2013
As consumers we have the right to obtain goods and services commensurate with what we have paid. Sellers and service providers are bound by law to honour the promises, assurances and claims they made in the process of finalizing the consumer’s confirmation of order. They have to deliver on their affirmations, undertakings and guarantees. If there are violations and shortfalls the aggrieved consumer has recourse to the appropriate legal redress, namely the National Consumer Redressal Forum and other legal mechanisms and alternatives.
So, here’s the mother of all consumer grievances:
as citizens of this great democratic nation we have the right to receive services from the government commensurate with what we pay in taxes of all kinds. That means all manner of “public goods and services” including security, infrastructure, clean air and water, sanitation, drinking water, roads….honesty, transparency and efficiency in governance… this is what we pay for in taxes (income tax, corporate tax, service tax, excise & customs, local and municipal taxes, sales tax, GST, all manner of duties and levies……). Are we receiving the quality and quantity of services we have paid for in taxes ? The answer is a clear and unequivocal NO. Have the receivers of this tax income made amends or otherwise delivered ? NO. Have they had the time, opportunity and resources and power to do so ? YES…since 1947 they have appropriated power, extorted taxes and done precious little in proportion to the amount of tax collected…..hundreds of thousands of crores of rupees. Its time that we take recourse to the legal redressal route to hold successive governments and their various components since 1947 responsible and accountable, individually and severally, institutionally and personally, liable for the damage inflicted on the public by way of negligence, dishonesty, inefficiency arising out of the opportunity cost…we could have been a developed nation by now in the 6 decades since independence….instead of being the also rans that we are now. Can we launch a class-action type public interest litigation to establish legally, in court, the link between promise and delivery implicit in collecting taxes of any kind?