8 August 2022

Notifications & Circulars

Press Information Bureau



Central Consumer Protection Authority passes order against Amazon for allowing sale of domestic pressure cookers in violation to mandatory standards on its e-commerce platform


CCPA is continuously monitoring the consumer protection landscape in the country. Recently, CCPA issued advisory to all e-commerce platforms with regard to sale of Ayurvedic, Siddha and Unani drugs containing ingredients as listed in Schedule E(1) of Drugs and Cosmetics Rules highlighting that sale or facilitation of sale of such drugs shall be done done only after a valid prescription of a registered medical practitioner is uploaded by the user on the platform.

CCPA has also recently issued Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements. The guidelines include conditions for valid and non-misleading advertisements, due diligence required for endorsement of advertisements and considerations for advertisements targeted at children.

CCPA has also issued Safety Notices under Section 18(2)(j) of the Act to alert and caution consumers against buying goods which do not hold valid ISI Mark and violate compulsory BIS standards. While the first Safety Notice was issued with regard to Helmets, Pressure Cookers and Cooking gas cylinders, the second Safety Notice was issued with regard to household goods including electric immersion water heaters, sewing machines, microwave ovens, domestic gas stoves with LPG etc.

The Central Consumer Protection Authority, headed by Chief Commissioner Mrs. Nidhi Khare, recently passed order against violation of consumer rights by Amazon e-commerce platform for allowing sale of domestic pressure cookers in violation to mandatory standards prescribed by the on its e-commerce platform.

It may be mentioned that CCPA had initiate suo-moto action against e-commerce platforms for sale of domestic pressure cookers in violation to compulsory standards on its e-commerce platforms. CCPA had issued notices to major e-commerce platforms including Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm Mall, Shopclues and Snapdeal as well as to the sellers registered on these platforms.

After examination of the response submitted by the company, it was observed that total 2,265 pressure cookers not conforming to mandatory standards were sold through Amazon after notification of the QCO. The total fee earned by the Amazon on sale of such pressure cookers through its platform was Rs. 6,14,825.41.

Amazon admitted that it earned 'sales commission' fee for the pressure cookers sold on its platform. It was observed by CCPA that when Amazon earns commercially from each sale of the product listed on its e-commerce platform, it can not disassociate itself in case of issues arising from sale of products through its platform.

In the order, CCPA directed Amazon to notify all consumers of the 2,265 pressure cookers sold on its platform, recall the pressure cookers and reimburse their prices to the consumers and submit a compliance report of the same within 45 days. The company was also directed to pay a penalty of Rs. 1,00,000 for allowing sale of pressure cookers in violation to the QCO on its platform and violating rights of consumers.

It may be mentioned that CCPA had passed similar order of penalty and recall of defective pressure cookers against Paytm Mall, which has complied with direction passed by CCPA and deposited the penalty of Rs. 1,00,000.

Tags : CCPA Order Amazon

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Press Information Bureau



E-Commerce Marketing Platform


The National Small Industries Corporation, a PSU under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) facilitates e-marketing service to MSMEs across the country through MSME Global Mart Web Portal to enhance their business. The salient features of the portal include online registration, web store management, showcase products & services, keyword based tender alert, business trade leads, award of contract information, etc. Further, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), a statutory body, under this Ministry established an e-commerce portal namely 'ekhadiindia.com' to support the online marketing facilities for its stakeholders. This portal opens new avenues for KVI micro businesses and allows a business to reach its customers in wide range of ways viz. website, email, live chat, blog, forums, etc.

To boost the MSME sector, the Ministry of MSME implements various schemes and programmes namely, Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI), A Scheme for Promoting Innovation, Rural Industry & Entrepreneurship (ASPIRE), Credit Guarantee Scheme for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE), Micro and Small Enterprises Cluster Development Programme (MSE-CDP), Entrepreneurship and Skill Development Programme (ESDP), etc.

Tags : E-marketing Service MSMEs

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Press Information Bureau



Digitalization of Supreme Court and High Court Record


Digitization of records forms a very important part of the ICT development of the Judicial set up. Digitization was proposed to be made a part of the eCourts Phase II and Rs. 752.50 crores were proposed for the same. However, there was a 10% increase in tax-devolution in 14th Finance Commission taking the state share to 42% and on account of this, the proposed Rs. 752.50 crores for this activity was not allocated at the level of Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) and this activity was to be done by the State Governments, in lieu of increased devolution.

However, as a special case for North East region, funds to the tune of Rs. 13.67 Crores have been released to the Gauhati High Court (Principal bench) for digitization of records of the High Court and District Courts of Assam (Rs. 6.82 Cr. For High Court and Rs. 6.85 Cr. for district courts) under eCourt Project Phase II. As the eCourts project covers only District and Subordinate Courts, the Supreme Court is not part of eCourts project Phase II.

The National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG), is an online repository of case statistics, as a result of digitalized case records, from the High Courts and the District and Subordinate Courts of the country. It provides information relating to judicial proceedings/decisions of the computerized courts of the country. Approximately 3000 Court Complexes replicate live data of filing, registration, scrutiny, objections, case status, cause list, judgment and orders on real-time basis. Through the NJDG platform currently litigants can access case status information in respect of over 20.86 crore cases and more than 18.02 crore orders / judgments pertaining to these computerized courts as on 04.07.2022. Case data is available on NJDG for both civil and criminal cases with the ability to perform drill-down analysis based on the age of the case as well as the State and District. NJDG works as a monitoring tool to identify, manage & reduce pendency of cases. It helps to provide timely inputs for making policy decisions to reduce delays in disposing of cases and helps in reducing case pendency. To track cases related to land disputes, Land Records data of 26 States have been linked with NJDG. In consonance with the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP) announced by the Government of India, Open Application Programming Interface (API) has been provided to the Central & State Government to allow easy access to the NJDG data using a departmental ID and access key. Recently, reasons for delay have been included in NJDG.

As per the information available on Supreme Court website, Judgement records can be searched online with the following parameters - Case No., Diary No., Judgment Date, Judge Name, Parties, Act-wise, Const. Bench and Free Text.

To make online availability of digitalized records, Department of Justice has undertaken the following initiatives as part of eCourts Project Phase II:

• 18735 District and Subordinate Courts computerized under eCourts phase-II so far.

• Case Information Software (CIS) which forms the basis for the eCourt developed by NIC on Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS).

• NJDG developed with elastic search technology allowing access to 20.86 Cr cases and more than 18.02 cr orders and judgments. Delay reasons added and open APIs introduced.

• Citizen centric services provided through 7 platforms viz. SMS push & pull, e-mail, eCourts services portal, Judicial service Centers, Info kiosks, eCourts mobile app (total 79.65 lakh downloads till 30th April 2022) and JustIS app for judges (17,369 downloads till 4th July 2022).

• eFiling system version 3.0 rolled out with advanced features like e-Vakalatnama, e-signing, video recording of oath etc. Integrated with e payments module.

• Judgment Search Portal has been started for providing certified copies of judgments free of cost.

Tags : Digitalization SC Record HC Record

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Ministry of Finance 


Goods and Services Tax

GST applicability on liquidated damages, compensation and penalty arising out of breach of contract or other provisions of law


1. In certain cases/instances, questions have been raised regarding taxability of an activity or transaction as the supply of service of agreeing to the obligation to refrain from an act or to tolerate an act or a situation, or to do an act. Applicability of GST on payments in the nature of liquidated damage, compensation, penalty, cancellation charges, late payment surcharge etc. arising out of breach of contract or otherwise and scope of the entry at para 5(e) of Schedule II of Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (hereinafter referred to as, "CGST Act") in this context has been examined in the following paragraphs.

2. "Agreeing to the obligation to refrain from an act or to tolerate an act or a situation, or to do an act" has been specifically declared to be a supply of service in para 5(e) of Schedule II of CGST Act if the same constitutes a "supply" within the meaning of the Act. The said expression has following three limbs:-

a. Agreeing to the obligation to refrain from an act-

Example of activities that would be covered by this part of the expression would include non-compete agreements, where one party agrees not to compete with the other party in a product, service or geographical area against a consideration paid by the other party.

Another example of such activities would be a builder refraining from constructing more than a certain number of floors, even though permitted to do so by the municipal authorities, against a compensation paid by the neighbouring housing project, which wants to protect its sunlight, or an industrial unit refraining from manufacturing activity during certain hours against an agreed compensation paid by a neighbouring school, which wants to avoid noise during those hours.

b. Agreeing to the obligation to tolerate an act or a situation-

This would include activities such a shopkeeper allowing a hawker to operate from the common pavement in front of his shop against a monthly payment by the hawker, or an RWA tolerating the use of loud speakers for early morning prayers by a school located in the colony subject to the school paying an agreed sum to the RWA as compensation.

c. Agreeing to the obligation to do an act-

This would include the case where an industrial unit agrees to install equipment for zero emission/discharge at the behest of the RWA of a neighbouring residential complex against a consideration paid by such RWA, even though the emission/discharge from the industrial unit was within permissible limits and there was no legal obligation upon the individual unit to do so.

3. The description "agreeing to the obligation to refrain from an act or to tolerate an act or a situation, or to do an act" was intended to cover services such as described above. However, over the years doubts have persisted regarding various transactions being classified under the said description.

3.1. Some of the important examples of such cases are Service Tax/GST demands on-

i. Liquidated damages paid for breach of contract;

ii. Compensation given to previous allottees of coal blocks for cancellation of their licenses pursuant to Supreme Court Order;

iii. Cheque dishonour fine/penalty charged by a power distribution company from the customers;

iv. Penalty paid by a mining company to State Government for unaccounted stock of river bed material;

v. Bond amount recovered from an employee leaving the employment before the agreed period;

vi. Late payment charges collected by any service provider for late payment of bills;

vii. Fixed charges collected by a power generating company from State Electricity Boards (SEBs) or by SEBs/DISCOMs from individual customer for supply of electricity;

viii. Cancellation charges recovered by railways for cancellation of tickets, etc.

In some of these cases, tax authorities have initiated investigation and in some advance ruling authorities have upheld taxability.

4. In Service Tax law, 'Service' was defined as any activity carried out by a person for another for consideration. As discussed in service tax education guide, the concept 'activity for a consideration' involves an element of contractual relationship wherein the person doing an activity does so at the desire of the person for whom the activity is done in exchange for a consideration. An activity done without such a relationship i.e., without the express or implied contractual reciprocity of a consideration would not be an 'activity for consideration'. The element of contractual relationship, where one supplies goods or services at the desire or another, is an essential element of supply.

5. The description of the declared service in question, namely, agreeing to the obligation to refrain from an act or to tolerate an act or a situation, or to do an act in para 5(e) of Schedule II of CGST Act is strikingly similar to the definition of contract in the Contract Act, 1872. The Contract Act defines 'Contract' as a set of promises, forming consideration for each other. 'Promise' has been defined as willingness of the 'promisor' to do or to abstain from doing anything. 'Consideration' has been defined in the Contract Act as what the 'promisee' does or abstains from doing for the promises made to him.

6. This goes to show that the service of agreeing to the obligation to refrain from an act or to tolerate an act or a situation, or to do an act is nothing but a contractual agreement. A contract to do something or to abstain from doing something cannot be said to have taken place unless there are two parties, one of which expressly or impliedly agrees to do or abstain from doing something and the other agrees to pay consideration to the first party for doing or abstaining from such an act. There must be a necessary and sufficient nexus between the supply (i.e. agreement to do or to abstain from doing something) and the consideration.

6.1 A perusal of the entry at serial 5(e) of Schedule II would reveal that it comprises the aforementioned three different sets of activities viz. (a) the obligation to refrain from an act, (b) obligation to tolerate an act or a situation and (c) obligation to do an act. All the three activities must be under an "agreement" or a "contract" (whether express or implied) to fall within the ambit of the said entry. In other words, one of the parties to such agreement/contract (the first party) must be under a contractual obligation to either (a) refrain from an act, or (b) to tolerate an act or a situation or (c) to do an act. Further some "consideration" must flow in return from the other party to this contract/agreement (the second party) to the first party for such (a) refraining or (b) tolerating or (c) doing. Such contractual arrangement must be an independent arrangement in its own right. Such arrangement or agreement can take the form of an independent stand-alone contract or may form part of another contract. Thus, a person (the first person) can be said to be making a supply by way of refraining from doing something or tolerating some act or situation to another person (the second person) if the first person was under an obligation to do so and then performed accordingly.

Tags : GST Applicability Liquidated damages

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Press Information Bureau



Steps taken for increasing exports through e-Commerce


Government has implemented several legislative and policy measures for e-commerce keeping in mind the retailers. Some of these measures are FDI Policy; Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999; Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020; Consumer Protection Act, 2019; Competition Act, 2002; Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act, 2017; Information Technology Act, 2000; Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007; Companies Act, 2013; Copyright Act, 1957 etc.

Government has taken the following steps for increasing exports through e-Commerce:

• Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) has digitized import and export clearances of courier parcels through the launch of Express Cargo Clearance System (ECCS) at all major International Courier Terminals (ICTs). The Courier Imports and Exports (Electronic Declaration and Processing) Regulations, 2010 enables the electronic processing and clearances of courier imports and exports.

• With the recent issue of the Notification No. 57/2022-Customs (NT) and Circular 09/2022 both dated 30th June 2022, e-commerce exports of jewellery have been further facilitated in compliance to the budget announcement of 2022 for providing a simplified regulatory framework for e-commerce exports of Jewellery.

• Exports by Post Regulations, 2018 and Circular 14/2018-Customs both dated 04.06.2018 were issued in order to facilitate exports and specifically give a fillip to the global outreach of Indian exports via e-commerce (more so to the small & medium enterprises) through Foreign Post Offices.

Tags : Exports Increase E-Commerce

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Ministry of Commerce and Industry



Extension of Date for Mandatory electronic filing of Non-Preferential Certificate of Origin (NP CoO) through the Common Digital Platform to 31st March 2023


1. In continuation to the earlier Trade Notice 24/2021-22 dated 15.11.2021, Trade Notice 42/2020-2021 dated 19.02.2021, 48/2020-2021 dated 25.03.2021, 10/2021-2022 dated 19.07.2021, 19/2021-2022 dated 01.10.2021, 21/2021-22 dated 18.10.2021, 32/2021-22 dated 24.01.2022 and 04/2022-2023 dated 27.04.2022, it is informed that the transition period for mandatory filing of applications for Non-Preferential Certificate of Origin through the e-CoO Platform has been further extended till 31st March 2023.

2. While the exporters and NP CoO Issuing Agencies would have the option to use the online system, the same shall not be mandatory till 31st March 2023. The existing systems of processing non-preferential CoO applications in manual/paper mode are being allowed. For guidance on registration and online application submission process, the Help Manual & FAQs may be seen on the landing page at https://coo.dgft.gov.in.

3. The authorised agencies are therefore required to sensitize the exporting community and their constituents regarding the online system and its registration requirements well in time. Any issues relating to the IT system and its implementation may also be brought to our notice for appropriate action.

This issues with the approval of the competent authority.

Tags : Extension Date Electronic filing

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