Lawyer files PIL against 'illegal' and 'arbitrary' surcharge on plastic money
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Delhi High Court by a lawyer Amit Sahni alleging that the surcharge on payments made through debit and credit cards are illegal and arbitrary.
In the writ petition, Sahni said, “The Petitioner is an Advocate by profession and is invoking the extraordinary writ jurisdiction of this Hon’ble Court for seeking directions to the respondents for taking appropriate steps to frame guidelines so as to prevent the charging of unlawful and discriminatory surcharge being levied on the transactions whose payment is made through debit/credit cards, while no such charge is levied when payment is made in cash. The petitioner has no personal interest in the petition and the petition is not guided by self-gain of any other person/institution/body and that there is no motive other than of public interest in filing the writ petition.”
He further said, “That Petitioner noticed that illegal, unequal and arbitrary treatment is being given across the country on transactions being done through Credit/Debit Card by levying a surcharge at the rate of 2.5 per cent or more, while such surcharge is not levied when the payment of such transaction is done by making cash payment in that regard.”
Currently, many establishments including petrol pumps across the country charge an extra payment if the customer chooses to pay using plastic money.
The PIL to dismiss these charges have been filed under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution by Sahni.
He said that payments using credit or debit cards for transactions are discouraged, even by public sector oil marketing companies, promoting the circulation of black money in the country.
The PIL has been filed against the Union of India and the Reserve Bank of India.
Incidentally, the finance minister has been trying to increase the use of plastic money in the country.
Last year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley proposed income tax benefits to customers using debt and credit cards for payments.
According to a report in the Economic Times last year, the finance ministry has prepared a draft discussion paper proposing benefits such as an appropriate tax rebate or a 1-2% reduction in value added tax for establishments that accept electronic payments and income tax rebates for consumers paying a certain proportion of their expenditure through electronic means.