GST Appellate Tribunal

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    In News

    • Recently, The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, approved the creation of a national tribunal for the redressal of GST disputes.

    Need for the Tribunal

    • In the absence of GST Appellate Tribunals, taxpayers are filing writ petitions to directly move the High Court this burdens the already overburdened High Courts and they may not have specialized benches for GST matters.
    • The absence of the GST Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT) has led to a huge pile-up of cases
    • Without a tribunal, taxpayers who feel aggrieved have no choice but to wait for justice while revenue authorities aggressively pursue their orders 

    About GST Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT)

    • Section (109) of the Goods and Service Tax Act, 2017 (CGST Act) mandates the constitution of a GSTAT and its Benches.
    • It is a specialized authority to resolve disputes related to GST laws at the appellate level.
    • The principal bench of the GSTAT will be located in New Delhi, and each state can decide on the number of benches or boards they require, subject to GST council approval.

    Composition 

    • The bench will consist of two judicial members and two technical members, with the selection panel including a senior judicial member from the State High Court.
      • The Tribunal is likely to be headed by a former Supreme Court judge or a former Chief Justice of a High Court 

    Powers of the Appellate Tribunal 

    • As per the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, the GST Appellate Tribunal holds the same powers as the court and is deemed Civil Court for trying a case.
    • It has been granted the powers to hear appeals and to pass orders and directions, including those for the recovery of amounts due, for the enforcement of its orders, and for the rectification of mistakes.
    • It also has the power to impose penalties, revoke or cancel registrations, and take such other measures as may be necessary to ensure compliance with the GST laws.
    • Its framework may permit the resolution of disputes involving dues or fines of less than Rs. 50 lakh by a single-member bench.

    GST Council

    • 101st Amendment Act  paved the way for the goods and services tax 
    • The amendment inserted a new Article 279-A in the Constitution of India. This article empowered the President to constitute a GST Council by order.
    • The Council is a joint forum of the center and the states and consists of the following members:
      • The Union Finance Minister as the Chairperson
      • The Union Minister of State in charge of Revenue or Finance
      • The Minister in charge of Finance or Taxation or any other Minister nominated by each state government
      • The members of the Council from the states have to choose one amongst themselves to be the Vice-Chairperson of the Council. They can also decide his term.
    •  The Chairperson of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC)is a permanent invitee (non-voting) to all proceedings of the Council.

    GST Redressal Mechanism:

    • Under GST, if a person is not satisfied with the decision passed by any lower court, an appeal can be raised to a higher court, the hierarchy for the same is as follows 
      • Adjudicating Authority
      • Appellate Authority
      • Appellate Tribunal
      • High Court
      • Supreme Court.

    Source: TH