A plea came up for hearing before the Delhi High Court on Tuesday challenging imposition of Integrated GST (IGST) on import of oxygen concentrators for personal use as the essential equipment is already in shortage in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Talwant Singh said it needs to ask certain questions from the counsel for the Centre on the issue and as there was no representative from the central government in the hearing, the court listed the matter for hearing on Wednesday.
The petition by an 85-year-old man, who is suffering from COVID-19, said his nephew has sent an oxygen concentrator for him as a gift from the US to ameliorate his condition.
He has challenged a May 1 notification issued by the Ministry of Finance that such oxygen concentrators imported for personal use, irrespective of whether they are a gift or otherwise, will be charged with an IGST of 12 per cent.
Senior advocate Sudhir Nandrajog, representing the petitioner, said another notification has been issued by the ministry on Monday which says that if someone is giving it for charity, then it is exempted from IGST.
The plea said the May 1 notification is violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution since the same is arbitrary and infringes the right to life of patients reeling under the COVID-19 pandemic.
It said the notification unconstitutionally mandates that the petitioner and other similarly placed Indian citizens to pay IGST on something as crucial as oxygen concentrator which is been gifted to them specifically for their personal use under the present circumstances wherein there is a nationwide crisis owing to the unavailability of oxygen concentrators and similar medical equipment.
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