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Enable Citizens to receive Oxygen Concentrators from abroad without paying IGST: HC opined

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ILNS: The Delhi High Court today has sought the Centre’s response on a plea seeking exemption of 12% IGST on import of Oxygen Concentrators while terming it as a rare writ actions, whereby, a notification issued in the realm of a tax statute has been, inter alia, assailed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The Delhi High Court was hearing the petition filed by an 85-year-old COVID-19 patient who has challenged the notification of the Customs of May 1, where 12 % IGST was levied on oxygen concentrators after his nephew sent an oxygen generator as a gift from the USA.

A division bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Talwant Singh has noted the submissions made by Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, “that a notification bearing no. 4/2021 – Customs dated 03.05.2021, was issued, exempting imposition of IGST on oxygen concentrators imported by the State Government, or via any entity, relief agency or statutory body, authorised by the State Government. This exemption, according to the learned ASG, is, presently, available till 30.06.2021.”

The Court said, “We are of the view that since the respondent has gone this far, it could move further, and extend the exemption, to even individuals, to enable them to obtain imported oxygen concentrators by way of a gift, albeit, without having to pay IGST.”

Justice Shakdher said it makes no sense to collect the tax on the oxygen concentrators.

“That tax is an exaction by the State is well known. That its levy and collection, ordinarily, does not encompass equity, is also, well known. But, presently, we are living in difficult times and, therefore, perhaps, the

petitioner has invoked Article 21 of the Constitution,” said the Delhi High Court. 

The petitioner has contended imposition of any sort of levy by the state on the import of Oxygen/ Oxygen concentrators for personal use abridges the right to have oxygen which is part of the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

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The Court requested that the order passed by it be placed before the Finance Minister, Government of India.

The Court noted that, “Both the learned ASG and Mr. Zoheb Hossain have stated before us that they will revert with instructions.” The Court has list the matter for further hearing on May 6, 2021. 

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