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"Intrigued By Articles Written On GST Judgment" : Justice Chandrachud

26 May 2022 5:51 AM GMT
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Supreme Court judge Justice DY Chandrachud on Thursday said that he is "intrigued" by articles written on the judgment authored by him which held that the recommendations of the GST council are not binding on the Parliament and the State Legislatures.

Justice Chandrachud made this remark addressing Senior Advocate Harish Salve, who was mentioning a petition filed by Jindal Mining group against the GST demand by the State of Odisha.

"I am intrigued by the articles being written on the different facets of the judgment...Articles are being written on aspects like cooperative federalism etc. I hope you have read the judgment", Justice Chandrachud told Salve.

"Ultimately we ruled on the aspect of composite supply", the judge added.

Justice Chandrachud was referring to the judgment delivered on May 19 in the case Union of India versus Mohit Minerals which held that the GST Council's recommendations cannot bind the legislative powers of Union and States. As per Article 246A of the Constitution, both Union and States have simultaneous legislative powers on GST.

"The 'recommendations' of the GST Council are the product of a collaborative dialogue involving the Union and States. They are recommendatory in nature. To regard them as binding edicts would disrupt fiscal federalism, where both the Union and the States are conferred equal power to legislate on GST", the Court stated in the judgment.

The judgment referred to the unequal voting structure of the GST Council - with Centre having 1/3rd votes and States have the remaining 2/3rd- and observed that it can be an avenue for "political contestation" between Centre and States, particularly if different parties are governing.

The judgment also discussed the interesting concept of "uncooperative federalism" by saying that a degree of contestation and friction between the Centre and States within the Constitutional framework furthers the principles of democracy.

The Court also held that separate levy of IGST on Indian importers on ocean freight service was not sustainable when tax has already been paid on the composite supply.

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