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    HomeBusinessOpposition state finance ministers welcome Supreme Court’s ruling on GST Council

    Opposition state finance ministers welcome Supreme Court’s ruling on GST Council

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    Say it will arrest shift away from Constitutional scheme

    Welcoming the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Goods and Service Tax (GST) Council’s recommendations are not binding on the Union government and states, several opposition-ruled states said they stood vindicated in highlighting what they called a shift away from its Constitutional mandate.

    The Centre and state governments have simultaneous powers to legislate on GST but the council must work in a harmonious manner to achieve a workable solution, the court said on Thursday.

    “I have been saying this since HCM @mkstalin nominated me to the GST Council in May 2021. I am glad this judgement clarifies the matter,” Tamil Nadu finance minister P Thiaga Rajan tweeted, reacting to the SC ruling.

    Advisor to West Bengal chief miniusrer and former finance minister of the state Amit Mitra said the spirit of the judgment upholds the need for consensus and the spirit of federalism. “Unfortunately, respect for federalism has steadily waned over the last few years and a majoritarian approach has emerged in the GST Council in recent times, which is in contradiction to the very ethos of the Council,” he said.

    Chhattisgarh health minister TS Singh Deo, who represents the state in the Council, said the SC has clearly brought focus on the federal nature of the Constitution.

    Thiaga Rajan also reiterated his submission shared with the GST Council on May 28, 2021: “We have arrived at a constitutional and historical oddity – a GST system and Council that function with an omni-potent and all-encompassing mandate not envisoned in the Constitution of India, yet deeply limited by a structural design and technology platform that are far from adequate to the important task. What makes this oddity truly alarming is that the actual Council is becoming in some ways a mere ceremonial seal, a rubber-stamp authority, with the real power to create policy abrogated to (Constitutionally) ad-hoc agencies such as the TRU of the CBIC, a feeble GST Secretariat, and the quasi-government GST Network.”

    Singh Deo said: “The guiding words in the judgment is that the GST Council is a reccomending body which has a pursuasive value. This is how the GST Council must view itself, it can’t think or act in a way which goes beyond the provisions of the Constituion. Even if it means some adjustment, we must make them.”

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