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2018 (10) TMI 200

the Central Government in exercise of power under Section 11 of the Goods and Service Tax (Compensation to States) Act, 2017 - Jurisdiction. - Whether the Compensation to States Act, 2017 is beyond the legislative competence of Parliament? - Held that:- Part XI of the Constitution deals with the relation between the Union and the States, Chapter I of which deals with “Legislative Relations”. Article 245 deals with “Distribution of Legislative Powers”. The Parliament has exclusive power to make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List I in Seventh Schedule of the Constitution - Article 246A provides that “notwithstanding anything contained in articles 246 and 254, Parliament, and, subject to clause(2), the Legislature of every State, have power to make laws with respect to goods and services tax imposed by the Union or by such State”. - When Constitution provision empowers the Parliament to provide for Compensation to the States for loss of revenue by law, the expression “law” used therein is of wide import which includes levy of any cess - it cannot be accepted that Parliament has no legislative competence to enact the Compensation to States Act, 2017 - Th .....

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First Amendment) Act, 2016 nor is against the objective of Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016 - The Compensation to States Act is not a colourable legislation. - Whether levy of Compensation to States Cess and GST on the same taxing event is permissible in law? - Held that:- The petitioner elaborating his contention submits that as per Section 8 of impugned legislation there shall be levied a cess on intraState supply of goods and services as provided in Section 9 of the CGST Act whereas CGST Act has been enacted to levy tax as provided under Article 246A of the Constitution. This is also true in respect of the cesses imposed on inter-State supplies of goods and services covered by Section 5 of IGST Act, 2017 - On the same very transaction there cannot be two levies, one under CGST Act and another under impugned legislation as it would amount to double taxation as levy is on the same taxable event and same subject. Thus, there is an overlapping on law which is not permissible. - The principle is well settled that two taxes/imposts which are separate and distinct imposts and on two different aspects of a transaction are permissible as “in law there is n .....

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, 2017 as well as Rules framed thereunder were under challenge. The Division Bench passed a partial ad interim order providing that additional levy on the stocks of coal on which writ petitioner had already paid Clean Energy Cess in terms of Finance Act, 2010, he shall not be required to make any further payment. However, on stocks of coal on which no Clean Energy Cess under the Finance Act, 2010 was paid any payment in terms of the impugned Act would be subject to the result of the writ petition. 4. This Court issued notice in the SLP on 22.09.2017 and stayed impugned order passed by the High Court. 5. Civil Appeal arising out of SLP(C)No.7708 of 2018 has been filed by Union of India challenging interim order dated 08.09.2017 passed by the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court in Writ Petition (C) No.7965 of 2017 (Hind Energy and Coal Benefication (India) Ltd. vs. Union of India and another). The Division Bench of the High Court passed interim order dated 08.09.2017 almost in the similar manner as was passed on 25.08.2017. This Court passed an order on 16.01.2018, while hearing SLP(C)No.25415 of 2017 filed against interim order dated 25.08.2017, on oral request of Attorney Genera .....

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nergy Cess against GST Compensation Cess. Writ Petition (C) No.7459 of 2017 was filed by Mohit Minerals Pvt. Ltd. in Delhi High Court praying for following reliefs: "It is therefore, most respectfully prayed that this Hon'ble High Court be pleased to: A) issue a Writ of certiorari/mandamus or any other appropriate Writ/order/direction against the Respondents by quashing impugned Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Act, 2017 by declaring that same lack legislative competency and unconstitutional; B) issue a Writ of certiorari/mandamus or any other appropriate Writ/order/direction against the Respondents by quashing impugned the Goods and Services Tax Compensation Rules, 2017 under the impugned legislation are illegal and unconstitutional; C) issue a Writ of certiorari/mandamus or any other appropriate Writ/order/direction against the Respondents by quashing impugned Notification No.1/2017 & 2/2017Compensation Cess (Rate), dated 28.06.2017 issued by the Respondent No.1 under the impugned legislation, are illegal and unconstitutional; D) issue a Writ of certiorari/mandamus or any other appropriate Writ/order/direction against the Respondent No.2 by declaring t .....

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the Petitioner has made out a prima facie case for partial ad interim relief subject to conditions. As far as the additional levy on the stocks of coal on which it has already paid the Clean Energy Cess in terms of FA Act, 2010, the Petitioner should not be required to make any further payment. However, on stocks of coal on which no Clean Energy Cess under the FA, 2010 was paid, any payment made in terms of the impugned Act would be subject to the result of this petition. It is ordered accordingly. 14. It is made clear that, in the event of the Petitioner succeeding in the present petition, the Petitioner would be entitled to a refund of amounts of Clean Energy Cess paid under the Act and on such terms as the Court may determine in the final order. 9. On 08.09.2017, another interim order was passed in Writ Petition (C) No. 7965 of 2017. 10. We have heard Shri J.K. Mittal, learned counsel appearing for the writ petitioner and Shri K.K. Venugopal learned Attorney General appearing for the Union of India. 11. Shri J.K. Mittal learned counsel for the writ petitioner submits that the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016 was enacted by the Parliament with the intent t .....

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when all legislation related to GST including impugned legislation was introduced, whereas on the same stock of coal, cess was already levied and collected under the provisions of Chapter VII of Finance Act, 2010. Thus, it amounts to double collection of tax at the same rate on the same stock. Even if the impugned legislation is found to be within legislative competency, the petitioner may be permitted to set off the cess of ₹ 7.68 crores which was already paid on the stock lying with the petitioner on 30.06.2017. Levy under impugned legislation is tax and not a cess, hence, not permissible in law. 16. Shri K.K. Venugopal, learned Attorney General submits that cess is nothing but a special kind of tax. If the legislature is competent to levy the main tax, i.e. GST under Article 246A of the Constitution, then legislative competence of levying the cess flows from the very same power to levy the tax itself. The phrase used in Article 246A with respect to has wide implication and will allow levy of cess also. Power to levy a cess, in any case, can be traced back to Article 270 of the Constitution. However, Entry 97 of List I of Seventh Schedule to the Constitution grants a resid .....

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mpensation to States Cess? 20. We have considered the submissions of learned counsel for the parties and have perused the records. 21. First, we need to notice relevant constitutional provisions and the Parliamentary enactments relevant for the issues raised in these cases. 22. Part XII of the Constitution deals with Finance. Article 265 provides that no tax shall be levied or collected except by authority of law. Article 366 contains definitions. Article 366(26A) defines services as services means anything other than goods . Whereas Article 366 (29A) contains an inclusive definition of tax on the sale or purchase of goods . A Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha namely, the Constitution (One Hundred and TwentySecond Amendment) Bill, 2014 on 19.12.2014 proposing constitutional amendments to introduce the goods and services tax for conferring concurrent taxing powers on the Union as well as the States including Union territory with Legislature to make laws for levying goods and services tax on every transaction of supply of goods or services or both. Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill are as follows:- "STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS The Constitution is proposed to b .....

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evy of Goods and Services Tax till a date notified on the recommendation of the Goods and Services Tax Council. (h) compensation to the States for loss of revenue arising on account of implementation of the Goods and Services Tax for a period which may extend to five years; xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 23. The Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016 dated 08.09.2016 was passed to amend the Constitution of India. By Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016, new Articles 246A, 269A and 279A were inserted. Amendments were also made in Articles 248, 249, 250, 268, 269, 270, 271, 286, 366 and 368. Article 268A was omitted. Amendments were also made in Seventh Schedule of the Constitution in List I and List II. Article 246A and 269A as inserted by Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016 is as follows:- 246A. Special provision with respect to goods and services tax.- (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in articles 246 and 254, Parliament, and, subject to clause (2), the Legislature of every State, have power to make laws with respect to goods and services tax imposed by the Union or by such State. (2) Parliament has exclusive power to make laws .....

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itution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016 is also relevant, which are to the following effect:- "18. Compensation to States for loss of revenue on account of introduction of goods and services tax.- Parliament shall, by law, on the recommendation of the Goods and Services Tax Council, provide for compensation to the States for loss of revenue arising on account of implementation of the goods and services tax for a period of five years. 19. Transitional provisions.- Notwithstanding anything in this Act, any provision of any law relating to tax on goods or services or on both in force in any State immediately before the commencement of this Act, which is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution as amended by this Act shall continue to be in force until amended or repealed by a competent Legislature or other competent authority or until expiration of one year from such commencement, whichever is earlier. 26. At this stage, it is also relevant to notice that in the Constitution (One Hundred and TwentySecond Amendment) Bill, 2014, Clause 18 contain a provision for arrangement for assignment of additional tax on supply of goods to States for two years or such o .....

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The Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017' (Act No. 13 of 2017 dated 12.04.2017) was enacted to make a provision for levy and collection of tax on inter-State supply of goods or services or both by the Central Government and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. Another enactment namely 'The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017' (Act No. 14 of 2017) was passed on the same day to make a provision for levy and collection of tax on intraState supply of goods or services or both by the Union territories and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The Fourth Parliamentary enactment, which is subject matter of challenge in the present case was also enacted on the same day, i.e. 12.04.2017, namely 'The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Act, 2017' (Act NO. 15 of 2017) to provide for compensation to the States for the loss of revenue arising on account of implementation of the goods and services tax in pursuance of the provisions of the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016. As the Preamble indicate (Compensation to States) Act, 2017 was enacted in pursuance of the provisions of the Consti .....

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e) of the Act as "Council means the Goods and Services Tax Council constituted under the provision of Article 279A of the Constitution". The Schedule of the Act read with Section 8 contains description of supply of goods or services in column 2; Tariff item, heading, subheading, Chapter or supply of goods or services, as the case may be, in column 3 and the maximum rate at which goods and services ta x compensation cess may be collected in column 4. The Central Government, in exercise of power under Section 12, has framed the rules namely "The Central Goods and Services Tax Rules, 2017". 30. Parliament enacted the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Act, 2017 dated 04.05.2017 to amend the Customs Act, 1962, the Customs Tariff Act, 1975, the Central Excise Act, 1944, the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956, the Finance Act, 2001 and the Finance Act, 2005 and to repeal certain enactments. 31. By Taxation Laws (Amendment) Act, 2017, the Finance Act, 2010, Chapter VII has been repealed. The Finance Act, 2010, Chapter VII provided for levy of Clean Energy Cess, which stood repealed. 32. We now proceed to consider the issues as noted above. Whether the Compensation to States Act, 2017 .....

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ess . (Webster) The word cess is used in Ireland and is still in use in India although the word rate has replaced it in England. It means a tax and is generally used when the levy is for some special administrative expense which the name (health cess, education cess, road cess, etc.) indicates. When levied as an increment to an existing tax, the name matters not for the validity of the cess must be judged of in the same way as the validity of the tax to which is an increment. Guruswamy and Co. v. State of Mysore, AIR 1967 SC 1512, per dissenting judge and India Cement Ltd. v. State of T.N., AIR 1990 SC 85. The word cess means a tax and is generally used when the levy is for some special administrative expense which the name (health cess, education cess, road cess, etc.) indicates. Shinde Brothers v. Hy. Commissioner, Raichur, AIR 1967 SC 1512, 1525. 37. This Court had considered the expression cess in Shinde Brothers Etc. Vs. Deputy Commissioner, Raichur & Others Etc., AIR 1967 SC 1512, Justice M. Hidyatullah, as he then was in his dissenting opinion has defined the cess ( no contrary opinion was expressed by majority in that regard ) in paragraph 39, which is to the following .....

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venue which can be utilised by the Union or the State Governments for any purpose e.g. for payment of salary to the members of the armed forces or civil servants, police, etc. or for development programmes, etc. However, cess is a tax which generates revenue which is utilised for a specific purpose. For instance, health cess raises revenue which is utilised for health purposes e.g. building hospitals, giving medicines to the poor, etc. Similarly, education cess raises revenue which is used for building schools or other educational purposes. 40. The expression cess as held above means a tax levied for some special purpose, which may be levied as an increment to an existing tax. The Scheme of Compensation to States Act, 2017 as noticed above indicate that the cess is with respect to goods and services tax. There are more than one reason to uphold the legislative competence of Parliament to enact the Compensation to States Act, 2017. Constitution Bench of this Court in Union of India Vs. Harbhajan Singh Dhillon, (1971) 2 SCC 779 held that only question to be asked while examining the legislative competence of Parliament with regard to a particular enactment is: Is the matter sought to .....

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aramier & Co. Vs. State of A.P. & Others, AIR 1958 SC 468 to contend that taxation is a distinct matter for purposes of legislative competence and the power to tax cannot be deduced from a general legislative entry as an ancillary power. He submits that State Compensation Cess being not covered by any taxing entry, the legislation is beyond the competence of Parliament. We may first notice the proposition, which has been laid down by this court in Hoechst Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (supra). This Court in the above case had occasion to examine Bihar Finance Act, 1981, by which surcharge was levied on certain dealers selling essential commodities such as drugs. Challenge to the legislative competence of the State was raised. In the above context, this Court had observed that taxation is considered to be a distinct matter for purposes of legislative competence. In paragraphs 74, 75 and 76, following was laid down: 74. It is equally well settled that the various entries in the three Lists are not powers of legislation, but fields of legislation. The power to legislate is given by Article 246 and other Articles of the Constitution. Taxation is considered to be a distinct matter for pu .....

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State s exclusive power to make a law with respect to the levy and imposition of a tax on sale or purchase of goods relatable to Entry 54 of List II of the Seventh Schedule. It follows that the two laws viz. subsection (3) of Section 5 of the Act and para 21 of the Control Order issued by the Central Government under subsection (1) of Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, operate on two separate and distinct fields and both are capable of being obeyed. There is no question of any clash between the two laws and the question of repugnancy does not come into play. 43. Levy of surcharge was upheld referring to Entry 52 of List II of Seventh Schedule. Following was laid down in paragraph 90:- "90. The decision in Fernandez case, AIR 1957 SC 657 is therefore clearly an authority for the proposition that the State Legislature notwithstanding Article 286 of the Constitution while making a law under Entry 54 of List II of the Seventh Schedule can, for purposes of the registration of a dealer and submission of returns of sales tax, include the transactions covered by Article 286 of the Constitution. That being so, the constitutional validity of subsection (1) of Section 5 of the .....

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the duties and taxes referred to in Arts. 268, 268A and 269 respectively, surcharge on taxes and duties referred to in Art. 271 and any cess levied for specific purposes under any law made by Parliament shall be levied and collected by the Government of India and shall be distributed between the Union and the States in the manner provided in clause (2). 47. After Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016, as per Article 270, Parliament can levy cess for a specific purpose under a law made by it. Article 270, thus, specifically empowers Parliament to levy any cess by law. Lastly, Section 18 of the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016 expressly empowers Parliament shall, by law on the recommendation of the Goods and Services Tax Council, provide for compensation to the states for loss of revenue arising on account of implementation of the goods and services tax…. When Constitution provision empowers the Parliament to provide for Compensation to the States for loss of revenue by law, the expression law used therein is of wide import which includes levy of any cess for the above purpose. We, thus, do not find any merit in the submission of the .....

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deeming provision, are used in the expansive sense, as per decisions of courts, meanings found in standard dictionaries, and the principles of broad and liberal interpretation in consonance with Article 39(b) and (c) of the Constitution. 49. The words arising out of have been used in the sense that it comprises purchase of shares and lands from income arising out of the Kanpur undertaking. We are of the opinion that the words pertaining to and in relation to have the same wide meaning and have been used interchangeably for among other reasons, which may include avoidance of repetition of the same phrase in the same clause or sentence, a method followed in good drafting. The word pertain is synonymous with the word relate , see Corpus Juris Secundum, Volume 17, page 693. 51. Learned counsel for the petitioner has placed reliance on judgment of this Court in Dewan Chand Builders and Contractors Vs. Union of India and Others, (2012) 1 SCC 101. The Parliament had enacted Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 and Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996. The constitutional validity and competence of P .....

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e benefit of the general public and as such the nexus between the cess and the purpose for which it is levied gets established, satisfying the element of quid pro quo in the scheme. With these features of the Cess Act in view, the subject levy has to be construed as fee and not a tax . Thus, we uphold and affirm the finding of the High Court on the issue. 53. The above judgment has no application in the facts of the case. The case of the Union is not that cess is a fee. Rather contention is that it is increment to the goods and services tax. We having already held that State compensation cess is with respect to goods and services tax, it is a tax. 54. Learned counsel for the petitioner has further relied on certain decisions on distinction between tax and fee. But the levy of cess, in the present case, not even claimed as fee, it is not necessary to refer to above cases which reiterate the well established principles emanating from Commissioner, Hindu Religious Endowments, Madras Vs. Sri Lakshmindra Thirtha Swamiar of Sri Shirur Mutt (supra). 55. The expression used in Article 246A is power to make laws with respect to goods and services tax . The power to make law, thus, is not ge .....

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itution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016. 58. Due to above reasons, we do not find any substance in the submission of the petitioner that Compensation to States Act, 2017 is a colourable legislation. We having held that Parliament has full legislative competence to enact the Act and the Act having been enacted to implement the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act and the object being clearly to fulfill the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act s objective, we reject the submission of the petitioner that Compensation to States Act, 2017 is a colourable legislation. We, thus, answer Issue No.2 and Issue No. 3 in following manner:- Ans. 2 - The Compensation to States Act, 2017 does not violate Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016 nor is against the objective of Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016. Ans.3 - The Compensation to States Act is not a colourable legislation. Whether levy of Compensation to States Cess and GST on the same taxing event is permissible in law? (Issue No.4) 59. The petitioner elaborating his contention submits that as per Section 8 of impugned legislation there shall be levied a cess o .....

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one sense overlap. But in law there is no overlapping. The taxes are separate and distinct imposts. If in fact they overlap, that may be because the taxing authority, imposing a duty of excise, finds it convenient to impose that duty at the moment when the excisable article leaves the factory or workshop for the first time on the occasion of its sale.... 62. Justice Krishna Iyer in Avinder Singh and others Vs. State of Pubjab and others, (1979) 1 SCC 137, laid down that if on the same subjectmatter the legislature chooses to levy tax twice over there is no inherent invalidity in the fiscal adventure unless there are some other prohibitions. In the above case Government of Punjab had issued a notification under Section 90(4) of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976 imposing tax at the rate of ₹ 1 per bottle on Indian made Foreign Liquor within the Municipal Corporation of Ludhiana. One of the contentions raised was that tax imposed is on sale, hence, beyond Government power. In paragraph 4 following was laid down: "4.......A feeble plea that the tax is bad because of the vice of double taxation and is unreasonable because there are heavy prior levies was also voiced. .....

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cted are also different. Under Section 83(6) of the Finance Act, 2010 the Clean Energy Cess was to be used for the purposes of the Union and not to be distributed to the States whereas States Compensation Cess has to be wholly distributed amongst the States to compensate the States. 67. The petitioner's submission that the petitioner should be given the credit to the extent of payment of Clean Energy Cess upto 30.06.2017 also cannot be accepted. The Clean Energy Cess and States Compensation Cess are entirely different from each other, payment of Clean Energy Cess was for different purpose and has no bearing or connection with States Compensation Cess. Giving credit or set off in the payment is legislative policy which had to be reflected in the legislative scheme. Compensation to States Act, 2017 or Rules framed thereunder does not indicate giving of any credit or set off of the Clean Energy Cess already paid till 30.06.2017. Thus, claim of the petitioner that he is entitled for set off in payment of Compensation to States Cess to the extent he had already paid Clean Energy Cess cannot be accepted. We, thus, answer Issue No.5 in the following manner: The petitioner is not entit .....

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