The Revenue Bar Association has filed a writ petition before the Madras High Court challenging the constitution of Authority for Advance Rulings (AAR) & Appellate Authority for Advance Rulings (AAAR) by the State of Tamil Nadu. The Court, while admitting the petition, has issued notice to the respondents, Centre and State governments and the GST Council.
Before the High court, the petitioners pleaded that the appointment of Revenue officers as members of AAR/AAAR violates the principles of judicial independence and separation of powers. It was further contended that “not only does the Central Government and the State Government hold primacy in the appointment of members of AAR and AAAR but persons with no judicial experience or formal training in law are statutorily envisaged to adjudicate on issues of law”.
“It is pertinent to note that under ss. 96 and 99 of the TNGST Act, the constitution of AAR and AAAR do not contain any judicial members. All the members are from the State/Central Tax departments. Whereas, the Supreme Court, in Union of India v R. Gandhi, (2010) 11 SCC 1, categorically enunciated that a Bench of National Company Law Tribunal / National Company Law Appellate Tribunal should consist of one Judicial Member and one Technical Member or the Judicial Member should be equal or in majority in compare to the Technical Member, and in no circumstances the number of Technical Member should be in majority compared to Judicial Members,” the petition reads.
The petitioners urged to declare Chapter XVII of both the CGST Act & Tamil Nadu GST Act pertaining to AAR/AAAR constitution as void, defective & unconstitutional, and also prayed for urgent stay of the impugned provisions and notifications in this regard.
The matter further posted to 3rd October 2018.
Senior Advocate Arvind Datar, assisted by Adv. Rahul Unnikrishnan & Adv. Karthik Sundaram appeared on behalf of the petitioners.To Read the full text of the Petition CLICK HERE