Anti-Profiteering — Restaurant services—In the instant case, the applicants had filed complaints alleging that though the rate of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on Restaurant Services had been reduced from 18% to 5% w.e.f. 15.11.2017, the Respondent had increased the prices of the products which were being sold by him and had maintained the same price which he was charging before the above reduction. They had also claimed that the Respondent had indulged in profiteering in contravention of the provisions of Section 171 of the CGST Act, 2017 and hence appropriate action should be taken against him.
Held that—After detailed perusal it is established beyond any doubt that the Respondent had increased the base prices on the intervening night of 14/15th November, 2017 by an average of 10.45% in respect of 1,730 products out of the 1,844 products which comes to about 93.82% which clearly shows that he had deliberately in conscious disregard of the provisions of Section 171 of the above Act had resorted to profiteering as he had no ground whatsoever to increase his prices on the eve of tax reduction.
The quantum of denial of benefit due to the reduction in the rate of tax and the benefit of ITC availed by the Respondent which was required to be passed on to the customers or the amount of profiteering done by the Respondent is determined as Rs. 7,49,27,786/- under the provisions of Rule 133 (1) of the CGST Rules, 2017 as the Respondent has failed to pass on both the above benefits to his customers - The above amount is inclusive of the extra GST which the Respondent had forced the customers to pay due to wrong increase in his basic prices otherwise the prices to be paid by them should have further got reduced by the amount of the GST illegally charged from them.
The Respondent is directed to reduce his prices by way of commensurate reduction keeping in view the reduced rate of tax and the benefit of ITC which has been availed by him as per Rule 133 (3) (a). Since the complainants are not identifiable in this case the Respondent is further directed to deposit the above amount as per the provisions of Rule 133 (3) (c) in the ratio of 50:50 in the Central or the State CWFs of all the 10 States mentioned in para 12 above, along with the interest @ 18% till the same is deposited, within a period of 3 months.
It is clear that the Respondent has resorted to profiteering by charging more price than that he could have charged by issuing incorrect tax invoices. He has further acted in conscious disregard of the obligation which was cast upon him by the law by issuing incorrect invoices in which the base prices were deliberately enhanced exactly equal to the amount of reduced tax and benefit of ITC and thus he had denied the benefit of ITC and reduction in the rate of tax granted vide Notification dated 14.11.2017 to his customers. Accordingly he has committed an offence under Section 122 (1) (i) of the CGST Act, 2017. Therefore, a show cause notice may be issued to the Respondent to explain why penalty under the provisions of the above Section should not be imposed on him.[SHRI RAVI CHARAYA, SHRI CHANDRANATH SARKAR, SHRI SHREEPAD SHENDE, SHRI JAYASANKAR VENKATRAMANI VERSUS M/S HARDCASTLE RESTAURANTS PVT. LTD.] [NATIONAL ANTI-PROFITEERING AUTHORITY] 6 TAXLOK.COM 25 (NAPC)