22.11.2023: Centre plans to appoint advocates as judicial members in GST appellate tribunal benches

The government plans to amend the CGST Act in the winter session of Parliament that will allow advocates with experience in litigation to be appointed as judicial members in GST appellate tribunal benches.

Finance ministry officials said the amendments would increase the maximum age of the president and members of the GST Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT). This would bring the GSTAT at par with other tribunals.

The GSTAT president will have a maximum age cap of 70 years, while the limit for members will be 67 years.

This is a change from the earlier age limit of 67 and 65 years, respectively, for the president and members of GSTAT.

Also, an advocate for 10 years with substantial experience in litigation under indirect tax laws in the Appellate Tribunal, Central Excise and Service Tax Tribunal, State VAT Tribunals, by whatever name called, High Court or Supreme Court will be eligible for the appointment as judicial member, the officials said.

Setting up state-level benches of the GSTAT would help businesses by way of faster dispute resolution.

At present, taxpayers aggrieved with the ruling of GST authorities are required to move to their respective high courts.

The resolution process takes a longer time as the high courts are already burdened with a backlog of cases and do not have a specialised bench to deal with GST cases.

Source: The Telegraph Online 

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