'Genuine reasons needed': Why can't petroleum products be brought under GST, asks Kerala HC
"The pandemic period cannot be cited as a reason. It is well known that even during the pandemic period, several decisions were taken involving revenue, after deliberations," observed the court
KOCHI: Expressing displeasure over the delay in filing a statement by the Centre in the petrol price hike case, the Kerala High Court on Wednesday held that there should be some genuine reasons as to why petroleum products cannot be brought under the GST regime.
"The pandemic period cannot be cited as a reason. It is well known that even during the pandemic period, several decisions were taken involving revenue, after deliberations," observed the court.
The court directed the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs to file a detailed statement in this regard.
The court issued the order on the petition filed by Dr MC Dileepkumar, Chairman, Kerala Pradesh Gandhi Darshanvedhi, challenging the decision of the GST council for not bringing petroleum products under GST.
When the case came up for hearing, the counsel for the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs submitted that the inclusion of petroleum and diesel within the ambit of Goods and Services Tax (GST) was discussed in the 45th GST Council meeting. However, there were three issues in this regard -- the matter involves high revenue implications, requires larger deliberations and during pandemic times, it would be difficult to bring petroleum products under the GST regime. Then the court said, "We are not satisfied with the reasons. There should be some discussion and genuine reasons, as to why petroleum products cannot be brought under the GST regime."
The petitioner stated that now different rates are being charged for petrol and diesel in various states in India and it is due to different rates of tax levied by the state governments under their fragment taxing policies. Due to the increase in the prices of petrol and diesel, there has been a hike in fares of vehicles causing a lot of problems for the common man. This will also lead to a price hike in essential commodities, thereby creating a high increase in the cost of living. The unprecedented hike in the price of petrol and diesel pushes the public into immense hardship by which their right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution is violated, stated the petitioner.