Judges, experts put heads together on GST

Judges, experts put heads together on GST

With the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in place, 20 judges from 12 high courts held a brainstorm with experts and top government officials to identify the grey areas in the new regime that may throw up litigation in coming days.

Top domain experts and officials from GST Intelligence and the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) briefed judges about the new tax system, according to documents available in public domain. The deliberations took place at a recent national judicial conference for high court judges on GST regime, organised by the Bhopal-based National Judicial Academy.

Topics ranging from 'potential areas of conflict and litigation under GST' to 'comparative analysis of concepts: GST vis-a-vis Central Excise, Service Tax and VAT', were discussed. The conference assumes significance as litigation has already started surfacing before various courts.

During the three-day exercise, judges from Allahabad, Andhra Pradesh, Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Madras high courts interacted with nine resource persons on various issues related to GST. The resource persons included officials from GST Intelligence and CBEC drawn from across India.

Sanitary napkins

A senior law ministry official said the academy had discussed GST issue in one of its programmes in 2015. "The academy had been sensitising judiciary about the tax regime," he said. Last week, the Delhi High Court had asked the Centre that if bindi, sindoor and kajal are kept out of the ambit of GST, why cannot sanitary napkin, an essential item, be exempted.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said sanitary napkins are a necessity and there cannot be any explanation for taxing them and exempting other items by bringing them under the category of necessity.

The court expressed unhappiness over absence of women in the 31-member GST council.

The court was hearing a petition challenging the levying of 12% GST on sanitary napkins. The plea termed it illegal and unconstitutional.

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