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Just because petitioner feels that excessive GST rate is applied on masks and sanitizers and should have been treated as ‘Essential Commodities’, cannot be a reason for issuing a writ of mandamus and direct the respondents to reduce tax on the said commodities.

GST Rate on Masks and Sanitizers -- The PIL has been preferred with the prayers to direct the Respondent to extend the Notifications dated 12/03/2020 and 21/03/2020 thereby classifying masks and sanitizers as ‘Essential Commodity’ under the Essential Commodity Act, 1955 and fixing the retail prices of the said products; to direct the Respondent to reduce the GST rate of 18% on alcohol based sanitizers to either 5% or 12%. During the initial period of the Covid-19 pandemic, masks and sanitizers were included in the list of ‘Essential Commodities’ under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 on 13th March, 2020. The said notification was in force till 30th June, 2020. Similarly, vide notification dated 21st March, 2020, the price of masks and sanitizers were regulated. Thereafter, there was no extension by the respondents. The court observed that what items are to be included under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 as ‘Essential Commodity’, is a policy decision of the respondent/Government. Further observed that the rate of tax cannot be challenged in a Court of law unless it is abundantly confiscatory in nature.
Held that:-The Hon’ble High Court dismissed the petition.—Gaurav Yadav And Anr. Vs. Union of India And Ors. [2020] 27 TAXLOK.COM 028 (Kerala)

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