The Delhi High Court on Friday appointed senior counsel Arvind Datar, as Amicus Curiae, to assist the Court on plea seeking exemption on imposition of IGST on the import of Oxygen Generators as gift for personal use.
A Divison Bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Talwant Singh appointed Arvind Datar, as Amicus Curiae.
Senior Standing Counsel Zoheb Hossain, who appears on behalf of the respondent revenue, said that the matter is still under consideration.
Sudhir Nandrajog, senior counsel, who appears for the petitioner, sought ad-interim direction for enabling import of the subject oxygen concentrator, as, in its clearance, impediments are likely to arise at the customs barrier, on account of the impugned notification.
Advocate Nandrajog submitted that the oxygen concentrator should be cleared, pending a final decision in the instant writ petition, upon the petitioner depositing, with the Court, an amount, equivalent to the IGST presently payable in consonance with the provisions of the impugned notification.
Advocate Nandrajog said that the petitioner will deposit the requisite amount with the Registry of this Court within the next three days.
"Given the foregoing circumstances, we are inclined to issue notice both, in the writ petition, as well as in the captioned application. It is ordered accordingly," the Court said and listed the matter for May 18.
Advocate Zoheb Hossain accepted service on behalf of the respondent.
The Court said that "in the meanwhile, in case, 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 this Court, an amount equivalent to IGST presently payable by him, in accordance with the impugned notification, within three days from today."
"Upon the petitioner depositing the said amount, the Registry will invest the same in an interest-bearing fixed deposit, maintained with a nationalised bank. Intimation, as regards the same, will be furnished to the respondent via its counsel, i.e., Mr. Zoheb Hossain, " the Court said.
"Since the requisite IGST will be deposited by the petitioner, with this Court, the respondent will not levy a charge qua the same on the importing agency, i.e., FedEx Corporation, " the Court said.
The Court was hearing a petition seeking to declare the imposition of IGST on the import of Oxygen Generators as gifts for personal use to India as being unconstitutional.
The plea sought to quashing/striking down the notification dated 01.05.2021 issued by the Centre as being unconstitutional.
"Pass a writ or order in the nature of a declaration declaring the imposition of IGST on the import of Oxygen Generators as gifts for personal use to India as being unconstitutional," the plea said.
The petition was filed by 85 year old Gurcharan Singh through caregiver and grandson Ankit Sahni. The Petitioner is a senior citizen aged about 85 years and had retired from his service twenty years ago. The Petitioner resides in Delhi and is currently suffering from COVID-19.
The nephew of the Petitioner, Raj Gupta is a resident of the United States of America. In order to ameliorate the condition of the Petitioner, Gupta has sent by air cargo an oxygen concentrator as a gift for the Petitioner, solely for the personal use of the Petitioner.
The present Petition challenges a notification dated May 1, 2021, issued by the respondent whereby it has notified that such oxygen concentrators imported for personal use, irrespective of whether they are a gift or otherwise, will be charged with an Integrated GST (IGST) of 12 per cent (hereinafter referred to a 'Impugned Notification').
It is emphasized here that, prior to the said notification, the import of oxygen concentrators for personal use was levied with IGST at the rate of 28 per cent.
The impugned notification if implemented would force the Petitioner to pay IGST of 12 per cent on Rs, 89,550 i.e on the cost of the said oxygen concentrator, which comes about to Rs 10,746.
The petitioner said that the Impugned Notification as being violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India since the same is arbitrary and infringes the right to life of patients reeling under the COVID-19 pandemic.
( With inputs from ANI )
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