A PIL in the Supreme Court has sought directions to the Centre for setting up of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal, as mandated under the Central Goods and Services Act, 2017, to avoid hardships caused to litigants and to curb huge backlog of cases.
Even after four years of the CGST Act coming into existence, the tribunal has not been constituted, activist lawyer Amit Sahni alleged in its PIL. The GST Bill was passed in both the Houses of Parliament in 2016 and the Central Goods and Services Act, 2017, came into force from July 1 that year only.
“The constitution of National and other Benches of the appellate tribunal under Section 109 of the CGST Act, 2017 is an absolute necessity of the hour and the respondents (government) cannot drag its constitution for an indefinite period,” Sahni said, adding that the litigants are unable to get speedy justice.
Stating that the government was deliberately not setting up the GST tribunal, Sahani said GST was introduced with the objectives to simplify the taxation laws by subsuming multiple tax laws at different central and state levels into a single one and to lessen the burden of payment of multiple taxes from the shoulder of common citizens.
“Any person aggrieved by the order passed by the Appellate Authority under Section 107 or by the Revisional Authority under Section 108 may appeal to the appellate tribunal under Section 112 within three months of passing such order,” the petition said, adding that these appeal arising against the orders/directions passed by the appellate authority are pending due to absence of any appellate tribunal, thus defying the objectives of introducing the GST Act.
Earlier this year, the Allahabad High Court had also directed the central government to specify by notification under the CGST Act, the creation of the state bench of GST Tribunal at Allahabad and four area benches at Ghaziabad, Lucknow, Varanasi and Agra.