Days before the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout in the country, a PIL has been filed in the Bombay High Court seeking to defer the implementation of GST till the next financial year. The PIL, filed by a 63-year-old retired professor, states that implementation of a major constitutional change in tax reforms should not take place in the middle of the financial year and that public awareness on this change is currently inadequate and may create chaos and confusion if rolled out this year.
The PIL has suggested its implementation from April 2018 after the budget sanction by Parliament in the February 2018 budget session. The GST, an indirect tax system that will replace the existing taxes levied by the Centre and state, will come into effect from July 1, 2017. The petitioner, Dr K S Pillai, has stated that the “implementation in the middle of a financial year will result in maladjustments among the government departments with old budget provisions, traders with old stocks, trying for clearance sale”.
The petition also says the preparations are not enough to adapt to the new system as doubts by the public on GST were not yet clarified. “Is it not the duty of the government to approach Parliament to get proper budget legislation in the budget proposal after finalising the rates on items?” says the PIL, stressing on the need for the sanction of Parliament.
The petitioner has also said the common man’s daily needs such as the supply of essential medicines, food and drinks items will be affected as the government was unprepared and the public at large were not yet aware of the implications of this major tax reforms. The petitioner, apart from seeking to defer the implementation of GST, has also sought awareness and education by the government for public, traders etc for better preparedness. The matter is yet to be heard in the High Court.