Punjab has joined the list of states making amendments to their GST laws in line with the directives of the GST Council. In a significant development, the state’s Governor, Banwarilal Purohit, has given his approval to two out of the three Money Bills proposed by the AAP government. This includes the amendments proposed in the Punjab Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which seeks to levy a 28% Goods and Services Tax (GST) on player deposits across online gaming platforms. This change is to align with the new GST policy implemented by the central government on October 1.
What makes the Governor’s approval of these amendments more notable is that it precedes the Supreme Court’s hearing of a petition filed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), challenging the Governor’s prior refusal to endorse these bills. Governor Purohit had previously rejected the bills, calling the assembly session during which they were presented as illegitimate. He reinforced his stand through a series of letters addressed to Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, claiming that the assembly’s convening had violated established legislative procedures, practices, and constitutional provisions.
On October 28, the Punjab government filed a petition in the Supreme Court, asking the Governor to approve the Bills. The case was scheduled for November 3. In response, the Governor, a day later, wrote to the Chief Minister, highlighting his commitment to look into the Bills on their merits for the welfare of the state’s people. On October 30, the Governor gave approval for the Punjab GST (Amendment) Bill, 2023, and the Indian Stamp (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2023.
This follows GST Council’s 52nd meeting after which only 13 states and union territories, including Haryana, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka, had agreed to accommodate the new GST regulation. With the Governor approving the Punjab GST (Amendment) Bill 2023, Punjab is set to join the Indian states and union territories that have or are in the process of amending their respective state GST legislation for imposing 28% GST on online gaming.