In a representation to Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley, the Coordination Committee of the All District Court Bar Associations of Delhi has demanded that the legal profession be excluded from the purview of the Goods and Service Tax (GST).
The letter contends that inclusion of the legal profession under the definition of “business” “has upset the settled proposition of noble profession and causes serious prejudice to the interest of entire legal community”.
The Act, it says, “proceeds in a reverse direction to destroy the existence and character of legal profession”. It further highlights that the medical profession has been exempted by a separate notification, and says that this “disparity” is “unwarranted and undesirable”.
The letter then emphasizes on the repercussions of the move and demands that the legal profession be excluded from the purview of the tax, stating,
“Consistently, the Hon’ble Courts have held that the central function of the legal profession is nothing less than administration of justice. It is a noble profession having high tradition and has been catering the need of the society since time immemorial. Besides, the advocates are classified as officers of court and contribute in dispension of justice. Judiciary being one of the pillars of democracy cannot achieve its goal without the assistance of lawyers but if the legal profession itself do not survive, the entire system is bound to collapse…
…These issues are in public domain for quite some time and not being raised for the first time. The anguish and concern of the Bar is well within the knowledge of the Government, so much so that there has been some discussions but no action has been taken so far for its redressal. We therefore, request you to issue necessary notification excluding legal profession from the applicability of GST Act in totality.”