In the three months since it assumed responsibilities under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) system, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has not been able to resolve a single anti-profiteering complaint. An official source claims that the CCI’s work is being hampered by the lack of a quorum because meetings at the organization require the presence of three or more members. Nevertheless, the CCI now only has two members, one of whom is the chairwoman.
Prior to the CCI taking control, the National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA) regulation stipulated that a quorum for meetings of the Authority (formerly known as the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) rule) must consist of a minimum of three members. On December 1, 2022, NAA was forced to dissolve, and it was determined that the CCI would look into all cases of profiteering.
According to Section 171 of the CGST Act, any decrease in the tax rate on any supply of goods or services, or the benefit of an input tax credit (ITC), shall be distributed to the receiver in the form of a comparable decrease in price. The NAA is the place to go with complaints in this respect. As the CCI is now in charge of the work, it is unclear how many anti-profiteering cases were open as of December 1, 2022, or how many complaints have been filed since then.
Experts had cautioned that it would take some time for matters to settle down after the transfer of all pending cases from the NAA to the CCI and the creation of a special bench for adjudication. The fundamental question of what constitutes a “commensurate drop in price,” as well as different business tactics like upping the grammage and zeroing, would also continue to be debated in front of several high courts.
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It is unclear how the CCI would handle these issues and simplify the GST’s anti-profiteering system.
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