The district consumer disputes redressal forum in Tirunelveli has slapped a fine of Rs 15,004 on a restaurant for charging Rs 2 as Goods and Services Tax (GST) on curd and Rs 2 as packing charge. The assistant commissioner for state GST (SGST) in the commercial tax department, Tirunelveli, also has equal responsibility to pay the amount as he failed to take action against the restaurant when the consumer took it to the notice of the official. The consumer, C Maharaja of Dharapuram in Tirunelveli district had purchased curd for Rs 40 from Hotel Annapoorna located near the district court on the Tiruchendur Road on February 6. He was asked to pay Rs 44 including Rs 1 as GST and Rs 1 as SGST and Rs 2 for packing charges. Counsel A Brammanayagam, who appeared for the consumer, said that Maharaja took it up with one of the owners of the restaurant. Maharaja argued with him that curd was exempted from GST and it was unfair to collect GST for the same. Responding to the consumer, the partner who was at the billing counter stated that GST for the product was fed in the computer and he could not do anything about it.
As the consumer questioned charging the packing charge, the person concerned humiliated him, asking him to leave without the curd if he was unhappy over the purchase. “The consumer then took it up with the assistant commissioner (SGST) in the commercial tax department, demanding action against the restaurant and stop GST collection for the exempted item. But despite confirming that curd is exempted, the official told the consumer that he has been many such complaints about the collection of GST and that he would not be able to do anything about it,” Brammanayagam said. Maharaja approached the district consumer disputes redressal forum in Tirunelveli which served notices to the partner and the assistant commissioner But no effort was taken by both the respondents to disprove the charges or justify their act. Forum president K Devadass and members S Sivanmoorthi and M Muthulakshmi on Tuesday observed the GST collection as well as packing charge as lapse of service. They also directed them to pay Rs 15,004. It includes Rs 10,000 as compensation for causing mental agony to the consumer, Rs 5,000 as case handling charges for the consumer and the Rs 4 to be refunded to him. Directing them to make the payment in one month, the forum said they should pay it along with an interest of 6% in case of delay.