GST on sanitary napkins: SC stays proceedings in high courts, to examine if cases fit for apex court

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed proceedings in Delhi and Mumbai High Courts on matters relating to imposition of Goods and Service Tax (GST) on sanitary napkins. The SC said it would examine the case and see if all the matters pertaining to it should be heard by the apex court itself, news agency ANI reported. As of now, 12 per cent GST is levied on sanitary napkins.

A plea filed by a PhD student in JNU, Zarmina Israr Khan, in the Delhi High Court last year had termed the tax on the napkins “illegal and unconstitutional”.

Goods such as kajal, kumkum, bindis, sindoor, alta, plastic and glass bangles, hearing aids, passenger baggage, puja necessities of all kinds, and all types of contraceptives had been exempted from the tax slab by the government but sanitary napkins, necessary for the women’s health, were not given a second thought, the plea states.

The Delhi High Court had then sought an explanation from the Centre on the same. “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 bench had observed. The court had also expressed displeasure over the fact that the GST Council did not have even one single female member.

The government had in July last year rolled out the tax reform under which certain items, some termed “essential”, were exempted from the tax slab. The government had come under fire for not exempting sanitary napkins from GST slabs.

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