Supreme Court fixes 2 April 2024 for final hearing on money gaming GST matters

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As reported earlier, the Supreme Court on Monday agreed to have a final hearing of cases challenging the GST show cause notices to online money gaming companies and casinos after conclusion of hearings in 9 judge bench cases scheduled in the coming months. The order made available on Tuesday has listed 2 April 2024 as the date of final hearing and disposal. The petitioners include Games 24×7, Head Digital Works, and industry association EGF.

The case is expected to resolve the prolonged tax ambiguity on money gaming, and clarify conclusively if these are games of skill or chance, and if they would come under the ambit of betting and gambling for purpose of taxation. On Monday, senior advocate Harish Salve appeared for the online money gaming companies while Additional Solicitor General N. Venkatraman appeared for the GST department and Union of India. ASG Venktaraman said notices have been served to over 99 companies.

The court has issued notice to the respondent central government and directed to file counter affidavit in two weeks. The apex court, however, did not accept the request by the petitioners for stay on the tax notices.

The apex court has appointed nodal counsel for petitioners and the respondent side and directed the parties to put together a common compilation of submission, pleading, documents, and precedents and file written submissions in electronic form atleast 7 days before the final date of hearing.

The tax department also informed the court that it will file a petition seeking the transfer of all cases related to the same legal issue pending before various high courts to the Supreme Court.