The Central government and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council have defended the decision to not include petrol and diesel within the ambit of the tax, stating that it was a conscious decision as these products yield significant revenues for the Central and State governments..A counter affidavit to this effect was filed on behalf of the Central government and the GST Council before the Kerala High Court after the High Court directed them to give "genuine reasons" for its decision to keep petroleum products outside the ambit of GST."It is respectfully submitted that it was a conscious decision of the GST Council to keep petroleum products outside the GST regime at this stage. These products yield significant revenue for both Centre and States," the affidavit stated. .The government, however, also reiterated its dependence on the pandemic as a reason for its decision by pointing out that the Centre and States are extending stimuli in all areas for the economy to recover from the disruptions caused by Covid. Since post-crisis revenue generation is a challenging task, "tax revenues are required to ensure that socio-economic initiatives undertaken in larger public interest are not adversely affected," the affidavit highlighted. .Senior Standing Counsel for the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, advocate PR Sreejith, filed the affidavit in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) which challenged the decision taken by the GST Council in its 45th meeting that it was not appropriate to bring petroleum products under GST at the present time. "There is no application of mind in taking such a decision .There is no justification as to why the present stage is not ripe enough to take a decision when the rate of petrol and diesel is rising on a daily basis," the plea had said.The PIL petition, filed through advocate Arun B Varghese, had pointed out that the recent hike in petrol and diesel prices has had a ripple effect which not only adversely affects economic stability but the lives of the common man too. It was contended that that the non-inclusion of petrol and diesel under the GST regime are violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.Moreover, it was argued that the "fragmented taxing policies" due to different rates of tax levied by different State governments hinders the achievement of a harmonised national market as envisaged under Article 279A(6) of the Constitution of India..The counter affidavit assailed the maintainability of the petition as the prayer of the petitioner seeks to quash the decision of the GST Council as it seeks to "enforce the provisions of Article 279A(5) and associated legislative actions". Therefore, "the petition also goes against the doctrine of separation of powers", the Central government submitted. .The contention of the petitioner that the fundamental rights of citizens under Articles 14 and 21 are affected are not sustainable, it was further contended."The Government, in its own wisdom, considering all relevant factors, including the need for mobilising resources amid serious fiscal constraint , had taken the decision to raise the duty in public interest. Fiscal policy is a function of several factors and may not be constrained by the fact that it causes hardship to persons who have to pay or suffer taxes," the affidavit said..On these, among other grounds, the Central government pressed for dismissal of the petition.