In what could be seen as a set back for the suppliers to duty-free shops at international airports, a High Court has ruled out GST exemption on such supplies by Indian manufacturers. Though the matter is not related to travellers directly, he/she will have to pay higher prices for goods supplied by Indian manufacturers because it will be factored in the maximum retail price. Besides, it will make duty-free shops in India less attractive than the others across the world. Duty-free shops at international airports have their own attraction as they offer goods at lesser costs.
One can buy alcohol, cigarettes, chocolates and perfumes, among others, by producing passport and boarding pass. “No provision of law has been brought to the notice of this Court under the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017, which grants exemption from payment of taxes,” a two-judge Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court said in its order involving a supplier Vasu Clothing Private Ltd. The Bench also said a tax statute has to be strictly construed. In a Tax Act, one has to look merely at what is clearly said. “There is no room for any intendment. There is no equity about a tax. There is no presumption as to tax. Nothing is to be read in, nothing is to be implied,” it said.