Welcoming the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council’s recommendations are not binding on the central government and the states, a number of opposition-ruled states have said they have been proven to highlight deviations from the constitutional order.
The central and state governments have the power to legislate simultaneously on GST, but the council must work in a harmonious manner to find an effective 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 happy that this verdict has cleared the matter,” Tamil Nadu Finance Minister P Thiaga Rajan tweeted in response to the SC verdict.
Amit Mitra, West Bengal’s chief adviser and former state finance minister, said the verdict supported the need for consensus and the spirit of federalism. “Unfortunately, respect for federalism has steadily declined over the last few years, and in recent times a majority system has emerged in the GST Council, which is in conflict with the policy of the Council,” he said.
Chhattisgarh Health Minister TS Singh Deo, who represents the state in the council, said the SC had clearly focused on the federal nature of the constitution.
Thiaga Rajan also reiterated her submission to the GST Council on May 28, 2021: “We have reached a constitutional and historical strangeness – a GST system and the Council works with an omnipotent and all-encompassing mandate not envisaged in the Constitution.” In India, it is still deeply constrained by a structural design and technology platform that is not sufficient for important work. What makes this bizarre thing really disturbing is that the actual council is in some ways becoming a mere formal seal, a rubber-stamp authority, which (constitutionally) has the real power to make revocation policy with ad-hoc agencies like CBIC’s TRU. . , A weak GST secretariat, and a quasi-government GST network. “
Singh Deo said: “The wording in the judgment is that the GST Council is a recommending body with a follow-up value. The GST Council must see itself as such, it cannot think or act in such a way as to go beyond the provisions of the Constitution. Even if it means some adjustment, we must do them.