28.03.2023: Lack of CCI quorum impedes GST anti-profiteering drive

Unfilled top-level vacancies at the Competition Commission of India have impacted anti-profiteering orders concerning the goods and services tax (GST), with sources indicating that there is a huge backlog of such cases with the regulator.

“It is likely that over the next three to five months the CCI will be able to dispose off anti-profiteering cases related to GST when vacancies related to the chairperson and members will be filled up. As of now, the CCI has been unable to take up cases due to the lack of quorum,” said a person familiar with the development.

At present, the CCI just has two members and the government has invited applications for the post of chairperson as well as three members. A quorum of at least three members is required for such cases to be taken up and orders to be passed. The regulator has started approving mergers and acquisitions under the doctrine of necessity after industry sought urgent intervention to clear such pending deals.

Effective December 1, 2022, the CCI was mandated to look into anti-profiteering issues related to GST and examine whether input tax credits availed by any registered person or the reduction in the tax rate have actually resulted in a commensurate reduction in the price of the goods or services. The National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA), which was earlier examining such cases, wound up on November 30 after its term came to an end.

The CCI is also looking at shoring up its manpower so that it can effectively deal with such cases and sources said that it will be sending out anti-profiteering orders as soon as the CCI’s top posts are filled.

However, industry sources have said that anti-profiteering cases came to a standstill by late last year as the NAA was being wound up and no orders were passed in months prior to its winding up and final orders on many cases are still pending.

According to the website of the NAA, it passed the last of its final orders on profiteering in September 2022 and interim orders came out till the middle of November. There is however, no data on the number of cases related to anti-profiteering that are still pending.

Source: The Financial Express

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