The Delhi High Court Thursday appointed senior advocate Arvind Datar as amicus curiae to assist the court in a plea seeking to exempt the imposition of Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) on individuals importing oxygen concentrators for personal use, including on those who have been gifted the same for personal use.
A division bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Talwant Singh passed the order to this effect.
The bench also directed the Central Government to file its affidavit both on the petition as well as an interim application within one week.
It listed the matter for hearing on May 18.
In the meanwhile, the court ordered that in case of the oxygen concentrator sought to be imported by the petitioner, reaches the concerned customs barrier, the same will be released, subject to the petitioner depositing, with the court, an amount equivalent to the IGST presently payable by them per the notification under challenge, within three days from today.
It clarified since the requisite IGST would be deposited by the petitioner with the court, the respondent would not levy a charge on the importing agency, i.e., FedEx Corporation.
The court was hearing a petition challenging the imposition of IGST on the import of oxygen concentrators by individuals for personal use or sent as a gift for personal use by 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.
On May 5, the high court asked the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) whether the Centre was willing to reconsider its position and extend the benefit of IGST exemption granted to state governments and state-certified agencies importing oxygen concentrators for charitable use, also, to the individuals importing oxygen concentrators for personal use and to individuals who are recipients of gifts of such concentrators for their personal use.
The Court 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.
In response, a day later, the court was informed no final decision had been taken and the matter was still under consideration.
Senior advocate Sunil Nandrajog, along with Advocates Siddharth Bambha, Shyam D Nandan and Chirag Ahluwalia appeared on behalf of the Petitioner.
Click here to read the order
The article was originally published in The Leaflet.