The Gujarat Government proposed a law imposing sales tax on large newspapers stating that newspaper houses are running in Gujarat like industries. The printers association objected to this on the ground that it would amount to violation of freedom of press. Decide.
The objection by the printers association that the law imposing sales tax on large newspapers amount to a violation of freedom of press cannot be validly sustainable.
In Indian Express Newspaper v. Union of India, (1985) 1 SC 641 the petitioners, publishers, of daily newspapers and periodicals, challenged the imposition of import duty and the levy of auxiliary duty on the newsprint on the ground of infringement of the freedom of press as it imposed a burden beyond capacity of the industry and also affected the circulation of the newspapers and periodicals.
The Court held that the press industry was not free from taxation. Taxes have to be levied by reason of public services, facilities and amenities enjoyed by the newsprint industry, the burden of maintaining which falls on the Government. They must contribute a fair and reasonable amount to the public exchequer. As long as such tax is within reasonable limits of Article 19(2), it is constitutionally valid.