HC slams Centre for GST on sanitary napkins, points at absence of women in GST Council

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday slammed the Centre for not exempting sanitary napkins from the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The high court questioned why sanitary napkins are being taxed when products such as bindi, sindoor and kajal are being exempted.

A bench comprising of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said that sanitary napkins are a necessity and asked the Centre’s representative for a reason for taxing it.While the Centre said that the price of sanitary napkins would increase if they are exempted from GST, the court gave the Centre one month’s time to respond.

Under the uniform tax regime, sanitary napkins have been clubbed along with luxury items and are currently being taxed at 12 percent. Petitioners had moved the court, seeking exemption of sanitary napkins from GST altogether.

Earlier this month, the GST Council slashed rates of 178 products from the highest 28 percent category, which included products like shampoo, detergent and chocolate, but did not cut rates for sanitary napkins.

The court asked the Centre if it had consulted the Ministry of Women and Child Development before applying the 12 percent rate.

“This has to be done while keeping in view the larger concern,” the court observed. The court also expressed displeasure over absence of women in 31-member GST Council.

The court has listed the matter for December 14.


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