GST on Sanitary Napkins: Supreme court stays proceedings in Delhi High Court

The Supreme Court yesterday stayed the proceedings in Delhi High Court challenging the imposition of 12 percent GST on Sanitary Napkins.

A Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud passed the order to that effect in a transfer petition filed by the Central government seeking transfer of cases pending in Delhi High Court to Supreme Court.

Last year, the Delhi High Court had issued notice to the Centre in two public interest litigation petitions challenging GST on sanitary napkins.

One of the petitioners, Zarmina Israr Khan a Ph.D. scholar in African studies, had contended that the imposition of such a high rate of tax on sanitary napkins was patently discriminatory and amounted to illegal treatment being meted out to the women of India.

“Imposition of this high rate of tax, which is ex-facie unconstitutional, illegal  and arbitrary, has witnessed strong dissent and calls for corrective action from individuals and organizations across the country.” 

The petition had submitted that it was shocking that the government has grouped sanitary napkins with toys, leather goods, roasted coffee, mobile phones and processed foods amongst others for the purpose of taxation,

“Classification of an essential and critical sanitation product with goods non-  essential to survival, reflect the extent of the gender-inclusive priorities, or the  lack thereof, of the State.” 

Finally, praying for directions to either quash or reduce the levy of 12% GST, the petitioner had submitted that in the 21st century, the right to access and use sanitary napkins is a fundamental human and Constitutional right for all women.

When Centre’s transfer petition came up yesterday, Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand appeared for the Centre.

The Court issued notice in the matter and stayed the proceedings in Delhi High Court.

“Issue notice fixing a returnable date within four weeks. There shall be stay of further proceedings in Public Interest Litigation (L) No.68 of 2017 and Writ Petition(C)No.6034 of 2017 pending before High Court of Delhi.”


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