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| Oct-13-2021

Rejection of bid in absence of GST registration cannot be termed as arbitrary as tender was for taxable supplies

In M/S. ASR Hospitals (India) Pvt. Ltd. v. State of Andhra Pradesh and Ors. [W.P. No. 17415 of 2021 dated September 22, 2021], Andhra Pradesh Medical Services Infrastructure Development Corporation ("the Respondent No. 2") issued a Tender [Tender Enquiry No. 11.1B/APMSIDC/2021-22], dated July 15, 2021 requesting for provision of Sick New Born Care Units ("SNCUs") at various hospitals in Andhra Pradesh.

M/S. ASR Hospitals (India) Pvt. Ltd. ("the Petitioner") had submitted its tender document on July 31, 2021 after complying with the formalities. The Respondent No. 2 had pointed out certain discrepancies in the tender of the Petitioner, that it lacked the Goods and Services Tax (“GST”) Registration Certificate of the Petitioner.

The Petitioner took the stand that it was an entity involved in the business of Healthcare Services, which were exempt from the purview of GST by way of Notification No. 9/2017-Integrated Tax (Rate) dated June 28, 2017 and therefore, the Petitioner was exempt from providing GST registration to the Respondent. Nevertheless, the stand of the Petitioner was still not taken into account.

Aggrieved from the aforementioned situation, the Petitioner filed a writ petition contending that the rejection made by the Respondent No. 2 was arbitrary and therefore, must be held invalid.

On the perusal of all the facts and evidences, the Honorable Andhra Pradesh High Court (“Andhra HC”) observed that a person is exempted from requirement of GST registration if he is engaged in supplying only those goods and services which are exempt from registration and does not supply any other goods or services, however, if such a person deals in any other goods or services, he will not be eligible for such exemption.

On the basis of this observation, the Andhra HC pronounced that, in the facts and circumstances of the given case, a successful tenderer would be required to supply medicines and other goods, which are not exempted under the GST Act, in the process of maintaining SNCUs, and for that reason, all bidders were required to submit GST registration certificates. It is clear that in such a situation, the Petitioner would have to supply drugs and goods which are not exempt from levy of GST and the Petitioner would be required to be registered, under GST Act. In absence of such a registration certificate, rejection of technical bid of petitioner could not be termed to be arbitrary.

(Author can be reached at info@a2ztaxcorp.com)

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