Parliaments GST As Aimed To Be A Citizen-Friendly Tax Structure, But Its Purpose Lost By The Manner In Which It Is Enforced: Supreme Court


Parliaments GST As Aimed To Be A Citizen-Friendly Tax Structure, But Its Purpose Lost By The Manner In Which It Is Enforced: Supreme Court

WHAT IS GST?

  • In the year 2017, the GST Bill was passed and came into effect as law for the benefit of the public in taxation.
  • GST aims at reducing the cost of the goods which are taxed.
  • The indirect tax has replaced many other indirect taxes, on Goods and Services supplied, at the central and state levels.
  • Prior to the implementation of GST, there were variety of taxes that were levied on goods and it varied from state to state.
  • After the implementation of GST the taxes have become uniform and made it easier for the public.

PROVISION IN DISPUTE

  • Section 83 of the Himachal Pradesh Goods and Services Act, 2017 which lays down the requirements for “Provisional Attachment to Protect Revenue in Certain Cases” was in dispute.
  • The provision empowers the Commissioner to attach any property inclusive of the bank account of the taxable person for the protection of the interest of the Government revenue, during the pendency of proceedings under various Sections under the Act.
  • It also lays down that such attachment of property would cease upon the expiry of a year from the date of the order passed.

PLEA BEFORE THE COURT

  • The plea arose from the case of Radha Krishan Industries v. State of H.P. and Ors., the final judgement of which is yet to be brought into light.
  • The petitioner filed the writ of Certiorari under Article 226 before the High Court of Himachal Pradesh for quashing the order that was passed by the Commissioner.
  • The Commissioner had issued provisional attachment under the Section 83 of the Act before the petitioners when a search and seizure was conducted and tax evasion was detected.
  • This petition led to the analysis of the provision in dispute before the Supreme Court, which the petitioners had pleaded to be dismissed before the High Court but the plea was dismissed.

OPINION OF THE JUSTICES

  • Justice DY Chandrachud stated that the enforcement of the GST which was supposed to be a citizen – friendly tax structure has lost its purpose.
  • The Court expressed its displeasure on the tax officers who have been raising enormous demands without any accountability.
  • The Court was of the opinion that balance must be maintained between the protection of the government revenue and operation of businesses.
  • Attachment of assets without alienation or liquidation of assets should not be conducted by the tax authorities.
  • The provision in dispute was termed to be “draconian and pre–emptive strike”.

What is your opinion on the implementation and enforcement of GST? Do you agree with Hon’ble Justice DY Chandrachud? Let us know in the section below!

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