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Delhi HC Cancels Tax on Gifted Oxygen Concentrators | India News


NEW DELHI: Calling it a “George Floyd moment” for India where citizens say “I can’t breathe” due to shortage of medical oxygen, Delhi’s high court on Friday struck down a 12% tax on oxygen concentrators given away from abroad for personal use.
“This is a George Floyd moment for the citizens of this country. The refrain is that I cannot breathe, even in a somewhat different context and setting; although in circumstances, some would say, much more horrible and gruesome. Driven by the relentless novel Coronavirus, the citizenry has been driven to despair and despair, “observed a bank of judges Rajiv Shakdher and Talwant Singh.
He argued that the imposition of IGST on oxygen concentrators imported by individuals as gifts [i.e. free of cost] for personal use, it is unconstitutional.
The court noted that the shortage of liquid medical oxygen [in short LMO], medications, oxygen concentrators, hospital beds, ventilators, and other medical equipment brought out the best and the worst in people.
“We have messiahs. We have charlatans. We have hoarders. We have seen kind and caring hands being beaten up by strangers when they could have remained locked in the safety of their homes. Brave hearts, there are many; doctors, nurses and staff of public institutions. They are people who are at the forefront of this battle, betting their lives, so that the common man can live; defeating this adversary, that is, the virus is their only objective. There is, therefore, in this litigation, no adversary other than the virus “he said, invoking the right to life in a tax matter, a rare case.
Even though the government opposed the intervention of the HC, arguing that setting a tariff on goods is the task of the executive, the court highlighted the extraordinary problems posed by the pandemic.
He said that the absence of adequate medical resources “forced people infected by the coronavirus, their families and friends, to fend for themselves and thus find the necessary means to survive.”
The fact that there were not enough beds in the hospitals necessary for critically ill patients “forced other patients to look for sources of supply that offered a viable alternative to LMOs. Oxygen concentrators seemed to be that alternative. It is in this context. that one It would be necessary to take judicial note that since the production and supply of oxygen concentrators did not correspond to their demand, people were looking for resources beyond our borders for the supply of oxygen concentrators ”, underlined the HC.
The bank said the government “should give in, or at least reduce the burden of exactions” at least, in times of war, famine, floods, epidemics and pandemics, “as such an approach allows a person to live a dignified life. , a facet of Article 21 of the Constitution “. Until normality is restored, the state can “mitigate the force of the levy” by granting reimbursements or allowing the importation of vital medical equipment, drugs, medicines, for a defined period, he added, when the Center refused to give up its stand. that oxygen concentrators may not be treated on a par with the life-saving drugs listed in the law.
But HC was clear that “the oxygen concentrator is, at first glance, certainly a piece of medical equipment that is required for the treatment, mitigation and / or prevention of disease. [i.e. coronavirus] or disorder in human beings ”and said that even the tax must yield“ to the will of equity in times of calamity that causes a total degradation in the human capacity to contribute to the State coffers ”.
As a cyclist, HC said that those who import it will have to make a commitment to the authorities that the device is being imported for personal and non-commercial use.
Friday’s verdict came following the statement of an 85-year-old Covid patient who challenged the imposition of IGST on a concentrator given to him by his nephew from abroad for medical use.

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