"Rare occasion when Article 21 is invoked in tax matter:" Delhi High Court on IGST levy on oxygen concentrator imports as gift for personal use
On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court held that there is no reason why the Central government should not offer an exemption from the imposition of the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) on oxygen generators/concentrators imported as gifts for personal use (Gurcharan Singh v. UOI). A Division Bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Talwant Singh stated in their order, "Noting that there was already an exemption granted to a group of imports by a notification published on May 3, a Division Bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Talwant Singh stated in their order, Because the respondent has gone so far, we believe it should go much further and expand the exemption to individuals, allowing them to receive imported oxygen concentrators as a gift without having to pay IGST. Normally, taxes did not include any element of equity, according to the Court. Given the current situation, an applicant had previously cited Article 21 of the Indian Constitution to challenge a levy. When Article 21 is invoked in the context of taxation, it is an unusual occurrence. This is a challenging situation. It remarked, "Why should State not be sensitive to it?" Chetan Sharma, Additional Solicitor General, told the Court that he would discuss the matter with the authorities and return with instructions on May 6. ASG Sharma also told the Court that seventeen pieces of COVID-19 equipment had already been exempted from levy during the trial. He also mentioned that the IGST levied on imports of oxygen generators is 12 percent until June 30, 2021, while it was 28 percent prior to the May 1 Notification for personal use. The applicant in this case is an 85-year-old COVID-19 patient who received an oxygen generator as a gift from the United States of America through his nephew. The petitioner argued that any tax imposed by the government on the import of oxygen/oxygen generators for personal use infringes on the right to have oxygen, which is guaranteed by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. It was also argued that the fact that IGST on oxygen generator imports is charged at the same rate for personal and commercial usage is "patently arbitrary."