18 percent GST on DNB course fee: Doctors told to move Delhi HC
New Delhi: Observing that the petitioner association, the Association of DNB Doctors is based in Delhi and the National Board of Examinations (NBE) against whom the relief is sought is also situated in Delhi, the Supreme Court bench has recently dismissed a petition challenging 18% GST charges on DNB course fees and advised the association to file the case before Delhi High Court.
Clarifying that the court is keeping it open for the petitioner to pursue its remedies under Article 226 of the Constitution, the top court bench comprising of Justice D.Y Chandrachud, Justice Vikram Nath, and Justice Hima Kolhi noted, "The Petition under Article 32 of the Constitution is, therefore, dismissed keeping the remedies of the petitioner open."
Diplomate of National Board (DNB) is a Post-graduate Master's degree same as MD/MS degree which is awarded to Specialist Doctors in India after they complete tenure of three years. The degree holds a similar value like that of Doctorate of Medicine (DM) and Master of Chirurgiae (MCh) awarded in medical and surgical super specialties.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) had previously clarified that fee paid to the various education boards including the National Board of Examinations (NBE) would not be subject to goods and services tax (GST) anymore.
This no GST policy, however, would be applicable only for the purpose of conducting entrance examination or admission process. CBIC has clarified that 18% GST would be applicable for services provided by these boards such as granting accreditation to an institution or to a professional.
Following such clarifications from CBIC, the Association of DNB Doctors along with the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) had written to the NBE regarding the matter and they questioned the inclusion of GST charges in the annual course fees of DNB candidates.
NBE allegedly directed the candidates to deposit the annual course fee of Rs 1,47,500 (including 18% GST) to NBEMS account within 05.08.2021 and warned that failing to submit the fees within the deadline might lead to the cancellation of the candidature of the NBEMS trainee.
Later, the Association of DNB Doctors took the matter before the Apex Court and the Court after hearing the submissions made by the petitioner, had earlier issued notice in the matter.
As per the latest media report by Live Law, when the matter came up for hearing on Friday, Senior Advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for the NBE and the National Medical Commission (NMC), contended that the issue could be resolved before the Delhi High Court under Article 226, and the top court need not take cognizance of the same by issuing notice under Article 32 of the petition.
At this outset, Justice Chandrachud was quoted saying by the daily, "The reason for that is that this issue would have pan-India ramifications. Otherwise, we would have petitions in many High Courts on this issue."
Following this, Advocate Singh pointed out that the Association of DNB Doctors is based in Delhi and the bench opined that the matter should be moved to Delhi High Court.
The daily adds that the counsel for the petitioner association, Senior Advocate A. N. S. Nadkarni pressed on the urgency of the matter and to this, Justice Chandrachud advised him to move the Delhi High Court for interim relief immediately.
"If you were to file by 12 'o'clock, it could even be listed the following day," Justice Kohli, whose parent High Court is Delhi, was quoted saying by the daily.
Thus, the top court bench disposed of the petition under Article 32 and gave liberty to the petitioner association for pursuing the remedies under Article 226 of the constitution.
To read the Court order, click on the link below.