Firms likely to move court against arrest provisions under GST laws

Companies are likely to file a petition in the Orissa High Court (HC) next week challenging constitutional validity of jail provisions under the goods and services tax (GST) laws.

While the government claims that companies are booked under GST laws for fraudulently claiming the input tax credit (ITC), experts find loopholes in the provisions, particularly those related to arrests.

According to the Orissa HC’s observation in a case pertaining to jail of a businessman, 1,620 cases of fraudulent claims for ITC involving a sum of Rs 11,251.3 crore were registered during 2018-19. The number of cases stood at 535 involving a sum of Rs 2,565.40 till June 25 during 2019-20, the court said.

Abhishek Rastogi, partner at Khaitan & Co, who is arguing the cases of arrest of businessmen in various courts, said the Section 69 of the central GST Act is arbitrary since it gives powers to GST commissioners to arrest a person if he has “reasons to believe” that the person has claimed fraudulent ITC.

Commissioners can order up to five years of arrest of a person who he has reasons to believe is engaged in

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Swedish apparel retailer H&M plans to expand offline stores in India

Swedish apparel retailer H&M will continue to expand its physical stores in India although it is closing down 250 stores globally, betting on the long-term potential of the country, according to a senior company official.

The firm which opened its first store in India in 2015 currently has 48 outlets in 24 cit­ies but may not open as many stores in the next five years as it also focuses on enhancing its digital presence.

“In India we are relatively small and there is great pote­ntial to grow with physical st­ores as well as digital in future. So for us physical stores rem­ain incredibly important and we want to ensure that we ha­ve the right stores at the right locations also in the future,” Country Manager Janne Einola said.

Earlier this month, the Swedish retailer had announced that it will close 250 stores globally next year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic as consumers are increasingly shopping online. It has 5,000 stores worldwide.

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Extinction Rebellion Unfurls Banner On Eiffel Tower

Eight activists from climate change protest group Extinction Rebellion scaled the outside of the Eiffel Tower on Sunday to hang a banner reading “REBEL” at the first level, kicking off a week of civil disobedience events around France.

Organisers said that in addition to the eight climbers, another dozen Extinction Rebellion activists were inside the monument to help with the unfurling of the giant pink banner emblazoned with black letters.

The climbers were arrested and are set to appear before a magistrate, the group told AFP.

The coronavirus pandemic has shown that governments “can’t pretend that they can’t act”, Extinction Rebellion said

“The public health crisis reinforces our message,” activist Lea Lecouple said outside the Paris landmark. “Covid is just a symptom. It takes a virus to bring the economy to its knees. We’ve seen that CO2 emissions can stop, that airplanes can be grounded.

“We want to say: ‘Stop everything! Let’s open our eyes, this is an emergency’.”

Extinction Rebellion is a network of climate activists which uses acts of civil disobedience to spotlight inaction on global warming.

The movement launched its first major action in April 2019 with 11 days of street blockades

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