If you thought playing cards was an idle person's game, you were wrong. The Supreme Court Friday on ruled that it is, in fact, a "physical sport."
"When you play cards, you use your hands," said a bench headed by chief justice HL Dattu, rejecting the Centre's plea to declare playing cards as articles of fun or as a parlour game. "It can be a physical sport. Why not?" the bench told Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who contended playing card was "gambling."
With the ruling, a company manufacturing playing cards can now get benefit concessional rate of excise duty on sports goods. As per the government notification, sports goods involving physical activity have to pay 5% excise duty.
An additional one per cent duty is imposed on goods not used for bodily exercise.
Parksons Graphics had challenged the classification of playing cards in the second category. The company had been claiming exemption from payment of duty since 2011. When served with show cause notices by the Centre, the company moved the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal seeking a declaration in its favour.
In 2014 the tribunal held that playing cards was a physical sport and therefore Parksons Graphics was authorised to pay just five per cent duty. Rohatgi argued the term "sports goods" did not cover playing cards. Advocate V Lakshmi Kumaran, representing Parksons Graphics, argued if one went by government's definition even chess should not be a sport.