The Delhi Court Wednesday asked the Central Government whether it was willing to reconsider its position and extend the benefit of exemption of Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) granted to State Government and state-certified agencies importing oxygen concentrators for charitable use, also, to the individuals importing the oxygen concentrators for personal use and to individuals who are recipients of gifts of such concentrators for their personal use.
A division bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Talwant Singh directed the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) to seek instructions from the government and apprised the court of the Centre’s revised position if any.
The bench termed the petition exceptional as it invokes the application of Article 21 of the constitution perhaps for the first time in the ambit of Tax laws.
It directed the ASG to place before the Finance Minister the Court’s order.
The court was hearing a petition challenging the imposition of IGST on the import of oxygen concentrators by an individual for personal use and as a gift for the personal use of an individual.
The plea was filed by an 85-year old COVID-19 patient whose nephew had sent an oxygen concentrator as a gift from the USA for the improvement of the health of the petitioner.
The petitioner contended that imposition of any sort of levy by the State on the import of Oxygen/ Oxygen concentrators for personal use abridges the right to have oxygen which is part of the Right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
Presently, the IGST leviable on import of Oxygen Generators is @ 12 percent till June 30 after Centre issued a notification on May 1 reducing IGST from 28% to 12% on the import of Oxygen Generators for personal use, while those importing for commercial purposes were levied @ 12 per cent.
On May 3, the Central government had issued a notification exempting the IGST levy on oxygen generators that were coming in “for charity” but being imported in by States and States authorised agencies.
The plea has demanded that this exemption should also be extended to individuals importing oxygen concentrators for personal use and to those individuals who have got a gift of the same for personal use.
The Petition was filed through Advocates Siddharth, Chirag Ahluwalia and Ankit Sahni.
Senior advocate Sunil Nandrajog, along with Advocates Siddharth Bambha, Shyam D Nandan and Chirag Ahluwalia appeared on behalf of the Petitioner.
The article was originally published in The Leaflet.