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HC notice to Govt on plea against 12% GST on sanitary napkins

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought response of the Centre on a plea against imposition of 12 per cent GST on sanitary napkins.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar also issued notices to the Finance Ministry and the Goods and Services Tax Council directing them to file their counter in the matter.
The bench was of the view that the issue needs to be examined, therefore, the authorities need to justify their stand in their counter affidavit.
The court has fixed the matter for hearing on November 15.
The petition filed by Zarmina Israr Khan, who is a PhD scholar in African studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, challenged the levying of 12 per cent GST on sanitary napkins, terming it illegal and unconstitutional.
She claimed that the petition has been filed for the benefit of women in general, particularly those belonging to the lower economic strata of society. The plea filed through advocate Amit George sought quashing of the imposition of 12 per cent GST on sanitary napkins, and declaring them to be liable to a nil rate or a reduced rate.
The plea alleged that 12 per cent slab on sanitary napkins, a shade lower than 13.7 per cent in the previous indirect tax regime, is ex-facie unconstitutional, illegal and arbitrary which has witnessed strong dissent and calls for corrective action from individuals and organizations across the country.
The petition said that the government had exempted goods like kajal, kumkum, bindis, sindur, alta, plastic and glass bangles, hearing aids, passenger baggage, puja samagri of all kinds, and all types of contraceptives, including condoms, from the purview of taxation but not extended the exemption to sanitary napkins which are essential for the health of women.
"The government has grouped sanitary napkins with toys, leather goods, roasted coffee, mobile phones and processed foods amongst others for the imposition of a GST rate of 12 per cent under the present tax regime. Such an action/omission is palpably arbitrary and unreasonable," it said. pti

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