Entry tax on goods under 9-judge lens

Entry tax on goods under 9-judge lens

 A nine-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court would be set up to examine the validity of separate entry taxes on goods as mandated by statutes of different state governments.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice T S Thakur took note of the challenges made against the entry tax provisions of various states by some companies on the ground that they are against the concept of free trade and commerce under Article 301 (Freedom of trade commerce and intercourse) of the Constitution.

“Counsel for the parties submit that the main appeals/ petitions are all ripe for listing before a larger bench of nine Judges. They submit that instead of dealing with the interim applications or directing any modification in the arrangement already made, it would be more appropriate if the appeals/petitions are set down for final hearing in the month of July, 2016,” the bench, also comprising Justices R Banumathi and U U Lalit, said.

“We accordingly direct that the papers shall be placed before the chief justice for constituting an appropriate bench to hear the main appeals/petitions in the month of July 2016,” the added.

The bench asked senior advocate Harish Salve, who has been representing some companies in the matter, to file a “comprehensive” compilation of his submission on each one of the questions that have been referred for determination by the larger bench.

The court asked the counsel for other parties, including some states, to provide written notes to Salve who, in turn, would incorporate them in his compilation.

It also asked other counsel to file a brief of the submissions not exceeding 10 pages in each case within six weeks. The court fixed the matter for hearing on July 18.

The nine-judge bench would be revisiting two judgements passed by the apex court in 1960 and 1962 respectively on the issue. The decision to refer the case to the larger bench came during the recent hearing of matters filed by companies including Vedanta Aluminium, Essar Steel, Tata Steel, Adani Enterprises and the Odisha government.

The nine-judge bench will revisit two judgments passed by the apex court in 1960 and 1962 respectively on the issue. A three-judge bench has fixed the matter for hearing on July 18.


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