June 20, 2024

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Kerala High Court “Pandemic Not An Excuse, Give Genuine Reasons”

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The bench of the High court of Kerala consisting of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly while hearing the PIL filed by Advocate Arun B Varghese, directed the GST council to give genuine reasons on why Petrol, Diesel, and other petroleum products could not be brought under GST. The petitioner contended that the non-inclusion of the petroleum products under GST is violating Article 14(Equality before law) and Article 21(Protection of life and personal liberty) of the Indian Constitution.

The public is suffering the havoc of petrol hike, as many of them are using petrol vehicles daily. Vehicles became the part and parcel of our life. So, the cost of affording petrol is much higher than the vehicle itself. Bringing the petrol and petroleum products under Goods and Service tax might help the public, in making petrol easy to afford. As the council states that the pandemic caused them to delay the decision, the court stated that many reasons were taken and considered during the pandemic. Previously, the court asked the council to state the reasons why it can’t be brought under GST.

 The  GST council in its 45th council meeting stated 3 reasons and provided reasons to the court on why the petroleum products could not be brought under GST and it decided that it is inappropriate to include petrol and diesel within the ambit of the GST regime at this stage. The reasons mentioned were

  1. The matter involves high implications relating to revenue 
  2. During the pandemic, it would be hard to bring them under the GST regime.
  3. It requires large deliberations.

The court asked the council to provide genuine reasons for the question which might be acceptable if right. The court mentioned that the relevant authorities should file a statement in detail, with the genuine reasons for the non-inclusion of petroleum products under GST. The court stated that pandemic cannot be used as an excuse on why petrol and petroleum products can’t be brought under the GST regime and the council should give detailed reasons for the said question.

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