Citing EWS criteria, petitioner seeks tax exemption for persons earning below Rs 8 lakh

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A Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) functionary has moved a plea before the Madras High Court’s Madurai Bench seeking an income tax exemption for persons earning less than Rs 8 lakh annual income.

The petition filed by A Kunnur Seenivasan, a member of the Assets Protection Council of DMK, said that a part of the Finance Act, 2022, that requires individuals with an annual income of more than ₹2.5 lakh to pay income tax, is “ultra vires”, in light of the Supreme Court ruling that categorises families with a gross annual income of less than Rs 8 lakh as economically weaker section (EWS).

A bench of Justices R Mahadevan and J Sathya Narayana Prasad issued a notice to the Centre and the Law and Finance ministries, seeking a response within four weeks, Bar and Bench reported.

“When the government fixed income criteria that a family having gross income up to the limit of Rs 7,99,999 is an economically weaker family for availing benefits under Economically Weaker Section (EWS) reservation, the government should not be permitted to collect income tax from individuals having income upto limit of Rs 7,99,999 as there is no rationality and equality in it,” the plea was quoted by Live Law.

Under the 2019 notification, a person who was not covered under the scheme of reservation for SCs, STs, and OBCs, and whose family had a gross annual income below Rs 8 lakh, was to be identified as EWS for the benefit of reservation. The government notification specified what constituted “income”, and excluded some persons from the EWS category if their families possessed certain specified assets.

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