SC Dismisses Plea Seeking GST Exemption for Medicines to Cure Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Supreme Court Law Insider

Aastha Thakur

Published on: 06 December 2022 at 20:07 IST

Recently, the Supreme Court of India dismissed a petition seeking removal of levy of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on medicines to cure spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) stating that it’s a ‘policy decision’.

The bench of Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar examined that, “There is a policy already. This is a policy matter—what price it has to be sold for, will be decided by the government”

As per the facts the petitioner was seeking GST exemption on medical treatment of patients suffering from SMA. As per the submitted pleading the Drugs for SMA is overpriced, one dose of Zolegsnama is Rs 17 crores. And, that the GST component itself would be upward of 2.5 crores, the plea averred.

The counsel representing the petitioner argued that there’s no specific exemption for domestic sales.

Accordingly, the Court’s order read as follows:

“Ultimately it is for the for the Government to take a policy decision whether to completely exempt any drug for treatment of rare diseases from levy of IGST, CGST, SGST or customs duty. No writ of mandamus can be issued for directing the Union to exempt drugs from payment of tax or duty.”

The other request in the case, asking to permit all importation of SMA medications without first informing the Center of Excellence, was similarly rejected by the Bench.

The court explicitly refused to entertain pleadings to import drugs directly without approaching Centre of Excellence.

However, the Bench give the petitioners liberty to approach the concerned government authority with a representation.

Case Title: Cure SMA Foundation of India And Ors. v. UoI & Ors.

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