SC stays Delhi HC order calling IGST on oxygen concentrator import ‘unconstitutional’

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed an order of Delhi High Court that called imposition of Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) on oxygen concentrators imported for personal use “unconstitutional”.

The court was hearing an appeal filed by Ministry of Finance against the May 21 order of the High Court.

“We are staying the operation of the Delhi High Court order till further orders,” a special bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah said, and issued notice on the plea and sought response from the petitioner, who had filed a PIL before the High Court.

Attorney General K K Venugopal argued that the GST council will be meeting on June 8 to deliberate on granting exemption to essential items related to COVID-19, including oxygen concentrators.

“Earlier the IGST was 77 per cent. We brought it down to 28 per cent and it was further brought down to 12 per cent but they still say that Article 21 is violated,” Venugopal said, adding that the high court did not consider that IGST exemption had already been granted to states and other government agencies on import of oxygen concentrators.

He said the High Court order trenches upon the issue of policy and ties the hand of GST council even before any decision is taken.

The bench noted the submission of Attorney General, and posted the matter for further hearing after four weeks.

The High Court had on May 21 quashed a notification issued by Finance Ministry which said that oxygen concentrators imported for personal use, irrespective of whether they are a gift or otherwise, will be charged with an IGST of 12 per cent.

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