GST on imported oxygen concentrators for personal use “unconstitutional”, says Delhi High Court
Daily NEWS Summary | 21-05-2021; Delhi High Court on Friday ruled the government’s action to impose the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on oxygen concentrators imported for personal use as “unconstitutional” and declared that people wishing to import oxygen concentrators must undertake that the devices will not be used for commercial purposes.
- A court of judges Rajiv Shakdher and Talwant Singh have argued that oxygen concentrators are a life-saving device during the current Covid-19 pandemic and therefore should be treated in the same way as life-saving drugs.
- “The oxygen concentrator, at first glance, is a life-saving device,” said Judge Shakdher.
- The petitioner in the case, an elderly person whose nephew sent him a concentrator as a gift, challenged a May 1 notice that imposed a GST of 12% on these imports compared to 28% previously. It invoked article 21 of the Constitution that enshrines the fundamental right to life.
- The court had previously asked the government to consider temporarily removing the 12% GST applied to these imports, citing oxygen shortages during the second wave of the pandemic.
- However, the Ministry of Finance refused, stating that if the petitioner’s argument on section 21 were accepted, “it would lead to absurd consequences and interpretations, where citizens will seek exemption from property tax”, because housing is an essential facet of the right to life or exemption from taxes on various food products since the right to food has been ruled by the Supreme Court as part of the right to life under article 21 “.
Israel and Hamas claim victory as fragile ceasefire takes hold
Daily NEWS Summary | 21-05-2021; Both Israel and Hamas claimed victory on Friday after their forces ended 11 days of fighting, but a clash between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem underscored the fragility of the truce, Reuters reported.
- Egypt, which negotiated a pre-dawn end to the worst hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians in years, discussed measures to prevent the resumption of Gaza‘s rocket attacks on Israel and Israeli strikes in the enclave.
- The violence in Gaza was sparked on May 10 in part by Israeli police raids on the grounds of the al-Aqsa mosque and clashes with Palestinians during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Thousands of people gathered there again to pray this Friday, and many stayed to demonstrate in favor of Gaza.
- Israeli police fired stun grenades at the protesters, who threw stones and gasoline bombs at the officers, and Palestinian doctors said that around 20 Palestinians were injured.
- The clashes ceased in about an hour, when the Israeli police withdrew at the gates of the compound.
- In Gaza, five more bodies were removed from the rubble of the densely populated Palestinian enclave, killing 243 people, including 66 children, with more than 1,900 injured.
- The IDF said an Israeli soldier was killed along with 12 civilians; Hundreds of people have been treated for injuries after rocket salutes that caused panic and sent people as far as Tel Aviv to rush for shelter.
SC confirms the notification from the Center authorizing banks to sue personal guarantors under IBC
Daily NEWS Summary | 21-05-2021; On Friday, the Supreme Court upheld the government’s decision to initiate proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) against the personal guarantors (generally the promoters of large commercial houses) of the debtors of companies facing an insolvency business resolution process.
- In a ruling that will resonate loud and clear throughout the business community, a court of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhat ruled that the Center’s notice of November 15, 2019 authorizing creditors, generally financial institutions and banks , to take action against personal guarantors under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) were “legal and valid.”
- November 15, 2019 notice invoking IBC against personal guarantors was initially challenged before several Hautes Courts.
- Supreme Court had transferred the petitions from the higher courts to itself at the request of the government. The court had transferred cases from the superior courts in October last year, saying the IBC was at a “nascent stage” and interpretations of the code’s provisions should be taken up by the superior court to avoid confusion and resolve with rule the law.
- The concept of “guarantee” is derived from Section 126 of the Indian Contract Act 1872.
- A guarantee contract is concluded between the debtor, the creditor and the guarantor.
- If the debtor does not pay the debt to the creditor, it is the surety’s responsibility to pay the amount owed to the lender.
- The obligee reserves the right to initiate insolvency proceedings against the personal guarantor if the latter does not pay.
- Typically, promoters of large companies provide personal guarantees to creditors to secure loans and ensure repayment.
Death of environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna
Daily NEWS Summary | 21-05-2021; Well-known Gandhian and environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna has died of complications related to Covid-19 at AIIMS in Rishikesh. He was 94 years old. He was admitted to hospital on May 8 after testing positive for Covid-19. He had been critical since last night with a dramatic drop in his oxygen level.
- A pioneer in environmental protection, Bahuguna led the charge against the construction of large dams in the Himalayas in the 1980s. He fervently opposed the construction of the Tehri dam.
- Along with local women, he founded the Chipko movement in the 1970s to prevent logging in environmentally sensitive areas.
- The success of the movement led to the enactment of a law banning logging on environmentally sensitive forest lands. He also coined Chipko’s motto, “Ecology is a permanent economy”.
Session Court acquits Tarun Tejpal of rape charges
Daily NEWS Summary | 21-05-2021; On May 21, the Mapusa District and Session Court in Goa acquitted the former editor of Tehelka Tarun Tejpal, in a 2013 sexual harassment and rape case brought by his colleague.
- Tejpal has been accused of raping his colleague in an elevator at a five-star hotel. He was arrested on November 30, 2013 by the Goa Crimes Section and released on bail by the Supreme Court on July 1, 2014.
- In February 2014, the Goa Crimes Division filed a 2,846-page indictment case against Tejpal.
- Special Judge Kshyama Joshi has handed down the sentence and the reasons for the acquittal will be known in due course.
- On September 29, 2017, the court laid charges against him under various articles of the Indian Penal Code. The trial began in March 2018 but was interrupted by several factors, one of them being Tejpal, who requested the release of the case, so he was seized first of the court of sessions, then of the Superior Court then the Supreme Court.
- In August 2019, the higher court rejected his statement and ordered the trial to be held behind closed doors (not open to the public) and be completed in six months.
- The trial finally began on December 7, 2020, and the survivor was questioned and cross-examined for an entire month until January 7, 2021, for physical appearance and by videoconference.
- The trial ended at the end of February 2021 and, after both parties presented their final arguments, the sentence was reserved.
- The court was previously supposed to make the decision on April 27, but it was postponed to May 12 due to staff shortages following the Covid-19 pandemic.
- It was again postponed to May 19 due to Cyclone Tauktae, and then to May 21.
- Prosecutor Francisco Tavora said: “We are gravely injured and the state will appeal the conviction.”
Calcutta HC refers Narada case to larger bench
Daily NEWS Summary | 21-05-2021; Calcutta High Court on Friday referred the Narada case to a larger court and ordered the defendants to be placed under house arrest instead of police custody.
- The Divisional Court of Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Judge Arijit Banerjee ordered the case to be heard in a larger court as one of the judges deemed it appropriate to grant provisional bail to the four arrested while the other did not.
- The order stated that the court had determined that the guidance in this regard given by the Supreme Court on May 12, 2021 in the case of Gautam Navlakha v. The National Investigation Agency is fully applicable in these cases.
- Four leaders, including two West Bengal government ministers, Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim, MP Madan Mitra and former minister Sovan Chatterjee, were arrested by the CBI in connection with the Narada bite videos on Monday. Since then, the four leaders have been in custody.
Jaishankar talks of ‘dishonoured commitments’ during Covid-19 pandemic
Daily NEWS Summary | 21-05-2021; Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar suggested that countries had not met “commitments” during the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has led countries to become selfish, often turning to a broader definition of national security that has disrupted supply chains, he said in a speech at a ‘The Future of the World’ event. ‘Asia’ hosted by Nikkei on Thursday.
- The policy-oriented speech is interpreted as an acknowledgment by the minister of the problems facing India itself in continuing the Vaccine Maitri project, under which it had promised to deliver vaccines worldwide, and in particular to the southern partner from Asian countries.
- Bangladeshi Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen called Jaishankar and reminded him that Dhaka had not received the Covishield vaccine from the Pune Serum Institute of India (SII) despite his orders.
- The shortage of the IBS vaccine created a crisis for the second set of doses required for recipients. Similar problems have been reported in Nepal, Sri Lanka, and in African countries to which the IBS has promised the vaccine.
Covid Updates: The number of reported coronavirus cases in India was 2,62,50,761 at the time of this bulletin, with a figure of 2,94,712.