Business Bureau :
The call of Bharat Vyapar Bandh on February 26 by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) against the alleged draconian and arbitrary provision of Goods and Services Tax (GST) has received tremendous response across the country not only from the trade associations but also the bodies of tax practitioners, chartered accountants, MSME and other verticals of domestic trade have come out in support of the call of Bharat Vyapar Bandh. CAIT said that the response shows the high level gross resentment in people of the country against the current state of GST which is called as ‘good & simple tax’, much away from the ground reality.
The traders across the country are deeply agitated over the recent amendments made in GST rules vide Notification No. 01/2021 – Central Tax New Delhi, January 1, 2021 and Notification No. 94 /2020 – Central Tax New Delhi, December 22, 2020 which have given arbitrary and unfettered powers to the GST officials, CAIT observed. CAIT while terming it as a ‘colonial taxation system’ regretted that these powers are against the letter and spirit of the Indian Constitution, principle of natural justice and Indian jurisprudence system. CAIT National President B C Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that the two notifications restrict smooth conduct of business activities of the traders.
The CAIT has a firm view that the Indian Constitution guarantee ‘Right to Trade’ to every citizen but contrary to it, the powers entrusted to GST officials to restrict business activities forced to smell dictatorial approach. Against the fundamental right given by the constitution, a businessman cannot be restricted from filing his returns for any reason nor can he be deprived of the input credit for the taxes already paid against its inward supplies and also his number cannot be suspended without providing him any show cause notice or without giving an opportunity of hearing. He can be charged with interest and penalty, late fee for the delay which the Government is already doing. Bhartia and Khandelwal said that Section 16 (2) (aa) announced in the Union Budget is against the basic structure and spirit of GST. Even after four years of implementation, the GST portal is suffered with various glitches and is a unstable tax portal but instead of penalizing the operators of GST portal, the traders are penalized even for a mistake which has not committed by them.