Gujarat Authority for Advance Ruling, (GST): Emphasizing that ‘Paratha’ is not ready-to-cook products, the Bench of Sanjay Saxena and Arun Richard (Members) held that GST rate of 18% will be applicable.

Applicant submitted that they were producing ‘Paratha’, a flat and thick piece of unleavened bread eaten like a Roti or Chapati. Several varieties of Paratha were being produced but the principal ingredient was whole wheat flour.

The word ‘Paratha’ is not defined under GST. It is a common eatable used all throughout the country and also in some foreign countries and therefore the dictionary meaning and the common parlance understanding of the product would be relevant for considering the nature of the product and its classification under GST Tariff.

Applicant submitted that Chapter 19 covers ‘Preparations of cereals, flour, starch or milk, pastrycooks’ products’. Though the broad heading of a Chapter is not a determining factor for classification, it is clear from the general description of Chapter 19 that preparations of flour are covered thereunder and Heading 1905 covers various eatables including ‘bread’ and various explanatory notes are given about the scope and coverage of this classification code.

It was also clarified under HSN explanatory notes that heading includes ‘Unleavened bread’; that it is also clarified under part(A) of Explanatory notes that the most common ingredients of the products were cereal flours, leavens and salt, but they may also contain other ingredients.

Therefore, unleavened bread are specifically referred to under Part(A) of the explanatory notes. Prima facie it appears that Heading 1905 is a specific heading for products made from flour and unleavened bread are specifically covered under HSN Code 1905.

Applicant added that unleavened breads like chapatti and paratha fall for classification under HSN Code 1905 and consequently under Tariff item No.1905 of GST Tariff.

Question for Consideration:

i) Whether the product viz. ‘Paratha’ i.e. various varieties of Paratha produced by the applicant merit classification under HSN Code 19059090?

ii) Whether the product, namely, ‘Paratha’ i.e. all varieties of Paratha produced by the applicant are chargeable to 5% GST (i.e. 2.5% SGST and 2.5% CGST) under Sl.No.99A of Schedule-I of Notification No.1/2017- CT(Rate) and Notification No.1/2017-IT(Rate) dated 28-6-17?

Analysis, Law and Decision

Bench stated that the AAR has gone through the samples of ‘packing covers’ submitted by the applicant in respect of their product ‘Paratha’ namely Malabar Paratha, Mixed vegetable Paratha, Onion Paratha, Methi Paratha, Alu Paratha, Laccha paratha and Mooli Paratha and found that they were all sold under the Brand name ‘Vadilal Quick Treat’.

Further, on all the packing covers, cooking instructions were available, hence the parathas supplied by the applicant were not ready to eat preparations or products ready for consumption.

Bench found that applicant’s product was not akin to Khakra and plain chapatti or roti as they did not require any processing before consumption by humans and hence were ready to eat food preparations.

In the instant case, the products of the applicant i.e. ‘parathas’ were to be processed for human consumption i.e. they need to be heated on a pre-heated pan or a griddle for 3-4 minutes as per the cooking instructions in order to make them ready for consumption. 

Therefore, Bench opined that the aforementioned products merit classification at HSN 2106 and as these products are not mentioned in the tariff item they merit classification at HSN 21069099 as “other”.

Adding to the above analysis, AAR stated that GST rate of 5% was applicable subject to:

i) products shall be classified at HSN 1905 or 2106 and

(ii) description shall be khakhra, plain chapatti or roti.

In the issue in hand, AAR found that the first condition of classification is fulfilled as the product ‘paratha’ has been classified under heading 2106.

‘Paratha’ is covered at:

  1. Entry No.453 of Schedule-III of Notification No.01/2017-Central Tax(Rate) dated 28-6-17 for the period from 1-7-17 to 14-11-17 and liable to GST at the rate of 18%(9% SGST + 9% CGST) and
  2. Entry No.23 of Schedule-III of Notification No.01/2017-Central Tax(Rate) dated 28-6-17(as amended by Notification No.41/2017- Central Tax(Rate) dated 14-11-17) with effect from 15-11-17 and liable to GST at the rate of 18%(9% SGST + 9% CGST).

 [Vadilal Industries Ltd., In re., 2021 SCC OnLine Guj AAR-GST 17, decided on 30-6-2021]

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