In a first in the country, the court of Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Centre) Virat has issued an order for filing an FIR against the owner of a shoe shop for not passing on the benefit of a reduction in the GST to a consumer under the anti-profiting rules.
The order was passed on a complaint filed by advocate Ajay Jagga against Metro Shoes Limited, Sector 17. While pronouncing the order, the SDM sent the complaint, along with a copy of the order and the entire record, to the SHO, Sector 17, for lodging an FIR under Section 188 against the owner of the shop and to put up the matter before the competent court for further action.
In the complaint, Jagga sought punishment under Section 188 of the IPC for disobedience of the prohibitory orders issued by the District Magistrate for not passing on the benefit of the GST to him. The Centre had issued the anti-profiting notification in November 2017 for giving the benefit of a reduction in the GST to consumers. Chandigarh was the first city in the country where District Magistrate Ajit Balaji Joshi issued an order under Section 144 of the CrPC for ensuring compliance of the notification.
In the complaint, Jagga said he purchased shoe polish from the shop on December 20, 2017. The MRP of the product was Rs 99 and the shop owner collected the same amount from him. He said he was charged 28 per cent GST on the item despite a reduction in the tax from 28 per cent to 18 per cent on the item. He said the GST Council, at its meeting held in Guwahati on November 10, 2017, had reduced the tax on the item and it was notified by the government. He said instead of charging Rs 91.26 (after the reduction of the tax), the shop owner charged Rs 99 from him, which was a clear violation of the law. He said charging an extra amount Rs 7.76 was illegal. The SDM sought a reply from the shop owner and found that the owner had violated the order of the District Magistrate.
Lack of awareness no excuse
In the order, the SDM said the plea of the shop owner that he was not aware of the notification was not convincing and also not legally sustainable as the notification was already displayed for the public.