Supreme Court permits transfer of 27 GST cases; GamesKraft & EGF matters to be heard on 1 May tentatively

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The Supreme Court bench headed by CJI and comprising of Justice JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra summarily allowed the government’s transfer petition of 27 writ petitions in 9 different High Courts to Supreme Court without issuing notice to parties noting that similar SLP in Gameskraft matter and writs by EGF and Play Games24x7 are pending.

The batch of cases is tentatively listed on 03 May 2024 but court on the request of the counsels appearing for EGF said it will try to list it on non-miscellaneous days, i.e. 01 May 2024 and 02 May 2024 and complete hearing the matter.

The counsel representing some gaming companies said the questions raised in each of the writ petitions before High Courts are different to which CJI responded they would look into the same when matters are heard.

On transfer, Union of India was directed to  to file counter affidavits in all writs in 3 weeks i.e., by 30 April 2024. Counter affidavits to the writs filed by EGF and Play Games24x7 to be filed by 22 April 2024. The Court also appointed nodal counsels for creating common compilation appointed.

In a hearing held in January 2024, Senior Advocate Harish Salve representing EGF and PlayGames24x7 argued that there is no supply of ‘actionable claim’ to impose GST on the 100% of the face value of the bet or the amount paid into the totalisator.

The ASG appearing for the government in earlier hearing stated that tax collections on prospective 28% GST on deposits from 1st October, 2023 has not garnered the desired revenue for the exchequer, and the GST Council may review the levy.

He further stated that the tax authorities have issued show cause notices to around 99 online real money gaming companies so far.