Duty-free import of drug for black fungus till Centre decides, says Delhi High Court

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By Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Centre as to why high import duty was imposed on drugs essential to treat Mucormycosis, also known as black fungus. A division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh suggested waiving off import and customs duties on drugs used for the treatment of black fungus.

“The drug is required to save the lives of people suffering from a serious disease which is afflicting thousands across the country. We are of the opinion that the Centre should seriously consider a waiver of customs duty/import duty for the period while the drug is in short supply,” it said. The Centre told the court that decision will soon be taken by the CBDT and the Secretary Finance.

“We direct that if any import is made by any person for these medicines, the same must be cleared after filing a bond instead of payment of duty for now,” the court said, adding the bond should stated that the importer shall pay the duties if the Centre decides not to waive off duties. “An assurance is given that the customs will clear without any delay,” the court said. “It has to be on war footing. Please understand that fight… every hour counts.”

Import duty range not clear
While one of the advocates informed that the import duty was in the range of 27 per cent, another one said it was 78 per cent. The Centre’s counsel said he was not aware of the exact percentage and will inform after inputs from the competent authority



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