- The Supreme Court on Thursday, in a judgment championing the importance of “cooperative federalism” for the well-being of democracy, held that Union and State legislatures have “equal, simultaneous and unique powers” to make laws on Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the recommendations of the GST Council are not binding on them.
About the GST Council:
- The 101st amendment added a new Article 279-A to the Indian Constitution. This article gave the President the authority to appoint a GST Council through executive order.
- As a result, the President signed an order in 2016 establishing the Council. The Council’s Secretariat is based in New Delhi. The Union Revenue Secretary serves as the Council’s ex-officio Secretary.
- The Council will be directed in its functions by the need for a unified GST structure and the establishment of a unified national market for goods and services.
- The Council makes its decisions at its meetings. The quorum for conducting a meeting is one-half of the Council’s total membership.
- The Council must make every decision with a majority of not less than three-fourths of the weighted votes of the members present and voting at the meeting.
What is the Supreme Court’s stand?
- Supreme Court is of the opinion that, any recommendations made by the council is not binding on the states.
- The court emphasised that the Union and the States are treated as “equal units” under Article 246A of the Constitution (which allows the States the ability to adopt GST regulations).
- It gives the Union and the States the power to implement GST legislation at the same time.
- The Supreme Court’s verdict has again turned the states against the Union government.
- The federal system is a means to accommodate the needs of a pluralistic society in a democratic manner. Democracy and federalism are inter-dependent.
Source: THE HINDU.
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