Indian consumers have become accustomed to buying products under the brand name “Mint” for a variety of reasons, including its high price tag.
Now, the Supreme Court has directed the government to stop the practice.
A court in the eastern state of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday ruled that cosmetics sold under the name Mint, which includes a brand name, “Mittri”, would not be banned under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.
The ruling was based on a case filed by a cosmetics company that had filed a complaint alleging that Mint was selling cosmetics at a higher price than its competitors.
“We are not satisfied that there are sufficient reasons to prohibit the sale of Mint products under GST.
The government must take immediate steps to stop this practice,” an official statement said.
The court said the government could take appropriate action against Mint.
The case was filed by Mint, a company that manufactures and markets cosmetics under the names “Mitsor”, “Mister” and “Mr.”.
Mint had earlier sought to be exempt from the GST regime, citing a “misleading” statement on the packaging of its products, as well as its pricing practices.
The company had argued that the government had failed to enforce the Goods Act and had instead sought to set up an excise duty on cosmetics.
The government, however, argued that it was not exempt under the GST laws and could not be held liable for the prices of cosmetics.
Under the GST, goods sold by a company under a brand’s name are subject to a 10 per cent excise duty.
The cosmetics industry, however has been in a constant state of flux, with many brands having been forced to discontinue operations, while others are still selling products under their original names.
In a statement, the government of India said that Mint’s case “raises the issue of unfair and unjustified subsidies to cosmetics producers.”
The government’s case, however does not challenge the validity of the law on GST, said an official with the commerce ministry, which was not authorized to speak on the record.
“The government has made a submission to the Supreme Courts and will take appropriate legal action on this issue,” the official said.