A petition has been filed before the Bombay High Court challenging the provisions relating to the constitution of Appellate Tribunals under the GST Acts.
Petitioner, a practicing Lawyer and the current President of the Sales Tax Bar Association of Maharashtra challenged the provisions relating to the constitution of GST Appellate Tribunals in the Central and the State GST Acts. According to the petitioner, the provisions impinge on the independence of the judiciary with respect to the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal as well as the First Appellate Authority.
The petitioner contended that the Sections 109(3), (4) and (9) of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 providing for two Technical Members on any Bench and only one Judicial Member (including President or the State President) and thereby leading to domination of Technical Members is ultra vires the Constitution of India and read down the same to ensure that the number of Judicial Members (including the President and the State President) on any Bench of the Tribunal should not be less than the Technical Members on that Bench.
The petitioner further challenged the provisions of Section 110(1) of the Act providing qualifications for appointment of Additional Secretary, Technical Members, the composition of the Selection Committee to the Government and the President of the Appellate Tribunal.
The petition further pleaded to declare Sections 110(9) to (11) ultra vires the Constitution inasmuch the term of office of Judicial Members is restricted to 3 years, whereas the term of office of Technical Members is 5 years and in as much the term of office of the President is up to 70 years, while the term of office of the other Members is restricted to 65 years and consequently read down the same to allow all the Members of the Tribunal, that is the President, Judicial as well as Technical Members, to serve on the Tribunal for a period of 5 years or till the age of 70, whichever is earlier.To Read the full text of the Petition CLICK HERE