The court on Tuesday said face masks and alcohol-based sanitisers are now easily available, and hence there is no need to regulate their supplies.
“We see no reason to issue mandamus and direct the respondents to extend the notification dated 13th March, 2020 or to include the masks and sanitisers as ‘essential commodities’ under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955,” Chief Justice Prateek Jalan said in the judgement.
The GST on alcohol-based sanitisers is currently 18%.
“Rate of tax cannot be challenged in a court of law unless it is abundantly confiscatory in nature. In the facts of the present case, nothing has been argued out about how the present rate of GST is confiscatory in law,” the judgement said.
The court also noted that the government has removed face masks and alcohol-based sanitisers from under the essential commodities category and is not regulating their prices anymore.
Face masks and alcohol-based sanitisers were included under the Essential Commodities Act in March after the coronavirus outbreak. The notification was in force till June 30. The government had issued a similar directive on regulating prices of face masks and alcohol-based sanitisers, also in March, but decided not to continue with it, as per a July 1 notification, the court said in the order.
The government, represented by Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, however, said the government will monitor the situation carefully and take remedial action, if required.
The court also dismissed the contention that in the absence of regulation, manufacturers and traders may take advantage of the situation. It termed it as “conjecture” and said regulation cannot be based on it.
Read More News on
Download The Economic Times News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.
- Parliament passes amendments to essential commodities law
- Congress to challenge Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act in court: Amarinder Singh
- Lok Sabha clears bill to amend Essential Commodities Act
- Baroda bypoll: Hooda slams BJP-JJP government over rising prices of essential commodities
- Face masks, hand sanitisers no more under Essential Commodities Act: Government
- Enough stock of essential commodities in Maharashtra: CM