Chambal Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltld. Vs. Union of India – 2019 (29) G.S.T.L. 222 (High Court – Rajasthan)

Authorities and Appellant authority for Advance Ruling having power of Civil Court, require to have a Member from judicial background

Facts- The petitioner has challenged the constitutional validity of Section 96(2) of the Rajasthan Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (for short, ‘the RGST Act’) and Section 96 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (for short, ‘the CGST Act’) to the extent they prescribe for constitution of the Authority for Advance Ruling (for short, ‘AAR’) consisting of members from amongst the officers of Central tax and the officers of State tax, and Rule 103 of the CGST Rules and Rule 103 of the RGST Rules, and prayed for declaring the same as arbitrary and unconstitutional. The petitioner has further prayed to declare the provisions of Section 99 of the CGST Act and Section 99 of the RGST Act to the extent they prescribe for constitution of the Appellate Authority for Advance Ruling (for short, ‘the AAAR’), which consists of Chief Commissioner of Central Tax and Commissioner of State Tax, as its members, as arbitrary and unconstitutional.

Held- According to Section 105 of the CGST Act, the AAR/AAAR would have the powers of civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure in relation to specified items and proceedings before them would be deemed to be judicial proceedings. Learned Counsel for the petitioner relying on the Constitution Bench judgment of the Supreme Court in Union of India v. R. Gandhi and Others – (2010) submitted that composition of any such Authority/Tribunal ought to have a Member from judicial background as they have been empowered to discharge judicial functions. Requisite number of copies of petition be served in the offices of Mr. R.D. Rastogi, Learned Additional Solicitor General and Mr. M.S. Singhvi, Learned Advocate General, and receipts of the same be filed in the Registry. The service on the respondents may thereupon be treated complete. Names of Mr. C.S. Sinha on behalf of Learned Additional Solicitor General and that of Mr. Ronak Singhvi on behalf of Learned Advocate General be shown in the cause list. Notice issued with direction not to take any coercive step against petitioner.

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