Assembly Speaker says VAT hike is legal | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Assembly Speaker says VAT hike is legal

mumbai Updated: Mar 23, 2010 01:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Dilip Walse Patil, on Monday said the state government’s ordinance to amend the Maharashtra Value Added Tax Act, 2002, was legal and did not require the President’s assent.

The VAT ordinance will now be tabled before the state Assembly.

Walse Patil said, “Promulgating the ordinance just before the budget goes against the propriety of the House. But, that does not mean it is unconstitutional or not good in law.’’

The government had tabled an ordinance to hike Value Added Tax on 104 essential goods ranging from paper products to oil from the existing 4 per cent to 5 per cent, last week.

The ordinance was issued following a cabinet decision to hike VAT to generate revenue for the state’s development schemes.

The Opposition, however, had called the ordinance unconstitutional and sought the Speaker’s decision.

The opposition members had argued that the two-year period, during which the government can promulgate an ordinance, had expired in 2007.

However, Walse Patil, who said he had consulted eminent lawyers besides the finance secretary and the law department on the subject.

“The governor retains the right to issue an ordinance on the Cabinet’s advice. This is valid even during the recess period of the Legislature,’’ Walse Patil said.

Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Eknath Khadse, was not satisfied with the reply.

Khadse said he would move the Supreme Court against this decision because he believed it was not tenable in law.