If bindi, sindoor and kajal can be exempt from GST, why not sanitary napkins, Delhi HC asks centre. The court also expressed unhappiness over the absence of any women in 31-member GST Council.
The Delhi High Court on Friday lashed out at the Centre for applying 12% Goods and Services Tax (GST) on sanitary napkins while bindi, sindoor and kajal are kept out of the ambit. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar furiously questioned the Modi-government’s financial planning because of their unreasonable taxing policies. “You exempt bindi, kajal and sindoor. But you tax sanitary napkins. It’s such a necessity. Is there any explanation for it. Have you discussed it with the Ministry of Women and Child Development before doing it or have you just looked at the import and export duty. This has to be done while keeping in view the larger concern,” the court said.
The matter was brought to the attention of the court after Zarmina Israr Khan, who is a PhD scholar in African studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University filed a petition challenging the levying of 12% GST on sanitary napkins. The plea has termed it illegal and unconstitutional.
However, Central Government standing council Sanjeev Narula had a different story to tell. “Reducing the GST rate on sanitary napkins to nil, will result in complete denial of input tax credit to domestic manufacturers of sanitary napkins, while zero rating imports. This will make domestically manufactured sanitary napkins at a huge disadvantage vis-a-vis imports, which will be zero-rated,” he said adding that xempt sanitary napkins from tax will make its cost go up.
However, the court rejected his arguments and accused the government of attempting to fool the common folk with complex statistics and numbers. The court will reassemble on December 14 to take a final call on the matter.