The pandemic period cannot be cited as a reason for not deciding whether to include petroleum products under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime as several decisions were taken during this period, the Kerala High Court has said. The observation by the high court came after the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs said that the question of whether to include petroleum products under GST could not be decided as the matter involves high revenue implications, requires larger deliberations and during pandemic times, it would be difficult to bring petroleum products under the GST regime.
"We are not satisfied with the reasons. There should be some discussion and genuine reasons as to why petroleum products cannot be brought under the GST regime. "Further, the pandemic period cannot be cited as a reason. It is well known that even during the pandemic period, several decisions were taken involving revenue, after deliberations," a bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly said.
It directed the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs to file a detailed statement with reference to the observations made by the court and listed the matter for hearing in the second week of December with another similar matter.
The court was hearing a PIL seeking inclusion of petroleum products in GST and an interim direction to the state of Kerala to refrain from charging or levying sales tax, additional sales tax and cess onpetrol and diesel till they are included under the GST regime.
During the hearing on Tuesday, advocate P R Sreejith, representing the Board, told the bench that according to a letter received from the Director of Goods and Services Tax Council, New Delhi, petroleum products can not be brought under the GST regime.