13.09.2022: Supreme Court seeks Centre’s response on pleas seeking setting up of GST Tribunal

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to file its response on a batch of pleas seeking directions for constituting the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal on utmost priority basis in the interest of justice.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli directed that the Centre should file a response to a plea of the Revenue Bar Association and others.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar, appearing in the matter, said that in the plea of the Revenue Bar Association, apart from setting up the tribunal, they want that lawyers should also be considered for the post of judicial member in the tribunal.

Advocate Amit Sahni in his PIL has sought direction to the Centre to constitute the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal in New Delhi on an utmost priority basis and as early as possible in the interest of justice.

He said in his plea, “That in 2016, the GST Bill was passed in both the houses of Parliament, and from July 1, the Central Goods and Services Act (the CGST Act) came into force. Section 109 of the Act mandates the constitution of a GST Appellate Tribunal which is not constituted even after years of the Act being in existence”.

The plea said that by passing CGST Order, 2019 dated December 3, 2019, the Government, on the recommendation of the GST Council, extended the limitation period to file an appeal against the order/direction passed by the Appellate/Revisional Authority from three months to the time till the President or the State President of the Appellate tribunal enters the office.

“It is pertinent to mention here that the citizen aggrieved of the orders passed by Appellate/Revisional Authority, are constrained to approach respective High Court under 226 by way of Writ Petition in absence of Tribunal and the same is overburdening work of the High Courts as well”, the advocate said in his plea.

He added that the constitution of National and other Benches of the Appellate Tribunal under section 109 of the CGST Act, 2017 has become an absolute necessity of the hour and the Respondents (Centre) cannot drag its constitution for an indefinite period.

“Further, the period of limitation to file an appeal before the Tribunal (90 days) cannot be extended by way of an administrative order by the Respondent in contravention of statutory provisions and more particularly such extension cannot be given for an indefinite period”, the plea said.

The plea sought direction to the Centre to constitute the national bench and the regional bench of the GST Appellate Tribunal as provided under the law on a priority basis.

Source: The Economic Times 

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