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The excise duty on “cosmetics” is quite high, according to a report by The Times of India, but if a product is instead classified as a “medicament” it reportedly attracts zero excise levy.
A recent case filed by a manufacturer of ayurvedic products was tried in New Delhi by justices Ashok Bhan and Arun Kumar, who determined that it is not necessary for products to be sold under a doctor's prescription in order to be classified as medicinal preparations or medicaments.
"Similarly, availability of the products across the counter in shops is not relevant as it makes no difference either way," said Justice Kumar, writing the judgment for the bench, in the report. The court ruled that products containing medicinal content and aimed at curing certain ailments would be classified as medicaments and not cosmetics.
Cosmetics are defined in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act as articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled or sprayed on, or introduced into, or otherwise applied to, the human body or any part thereof for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness or altering the appearance; this includes any article intended for use as a component of cosmetic.
--The Times of India