SC reproaches Centre over the delay in forming of the GST Appellate Tribunal
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On 6th August 2021, the Supreme Court criticised the Centre for not forming the Appellate Tribunal under the CGST Act even after four years of the law coming into force. CJI Ramana and Justice Surya Kant of the Divisional Bench observed a need to constitute the Appellate Tribunal under the CGST Act for persons aggrieved by the orders of the Appellate or Revisional authorities.

The Bench asked SG Mehta, appearing for the Union of India, to take note and revert to the Court on the GST Appellate Tribunal matter. The Bench was attending a writ petition filed for seeking an opinion on the constitution of the GST Appellate Tribunal, New Delhi, on a high priority and at the earliest, in the interest of justice.

Advocate Amit Sahni filed a plea in a writ petition through Advocate Preeti Singh. The petitioner considers that it has become necessary to constitute the National and other Benches of the Appellate Tribunal as per Section 109 of the CGST Act 2017. Further, the petitioner felt that the Centre could not prolong its decision on constituting the Tribunal for an indefinite period.

Further, he has argued that the citizens who are aggrieved by the Appellate or Revisional authorities’ orders are restricted from approaching the respective High Courts under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. It is on account of the Appellate Tribunal not being set up, which puts pressure on the High Courts.

Further, they argued that the limitation period of 90 days to file an appeal before the Tribunal cannot be further stretched by any administrative order of the Centre. It contravenes statutory provisions, and the extension cannot be granted for an indefinite period.

The plea has mentioned that in several cases, the Supreme Court has consistently held that justice delayed is considered as justice denied. In the absence of the Appellate Tribunal, litigants across India face hardships since they cannot get justice within a reasonable time. Moreover, the Bench expressed its concerns over the rising vacancies in several tribunals and sought a faster response from the Centre.

For any clarifications/feedback on the topic, please contact the writer at annapoorna.m@cleartax.in

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