A division bench comprising Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Talwant Singh said the imposition of IGST on oxygen concentrators imported by individuals or received by them as gifts, for personal use is unconstitutional. The High Court quashed the May 1 notification levying 12 per cent IGST on imported oxygen concentrators.
The court noted that importers of oxygen concentrators would have to furnish a letter of undertaking to the concerned authority, declaring that device is for personal use, and not for commercial use.
The order was passed on the plea of a Covid-19 patient, whose nephew had sent an oxygen generator as gift from the United States of America.
Senior advocate Sudhir Nandrajog, representing the petitioner, had argued that the imposition of IGST by the central government on devices meant for personal use violated the Article 14 and also abridged the right to have oxygen, which was part of the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The petitioner had challenged the May 1, notification issued by the Ministry of Finance and contended that it was forceful payment of IGST of 12 per cent on the oxygen concentrator. It was also cited before the High Court that certain imports had already been exempted from IGST till July 31.
The government counsel had argued that imposition of taxes could not be subject to judicial review, and IGST was imposed in the present matter to maintain parity with a commercial user and to avoid black marketing and profiteering.
During the hearing, the High Court had suggested that the central government should consider granting exemption to levying IGST on oxygen concentrators imported for individual use by way of gift, in the backdrop of ongoing Covid-19 health crisis.