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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

Constitution of GST Appellate Tribunals in current format unconstitutional: Madras HC

A Division Bench of Justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad, gave the judgment on two similar petitions which challenged Sections 109 and 110 of Chapter XVIII of the Central GST Act as well as the corresponding provisions in the state Act.

india Updated: Sep 20, 2019 19:05 IST
MC Rajan
MC Rajan
Chennai
Exclusion of lawyers from being appointed to the GSTAT was also challenged since the provisions allows for civil servants and judicial officers.
Exclusion of lawyers from being appointed to the GSTAT was also challenged since the provisions allows for civil servants and judicial officers.(PTI)
         

While holding that the constitution in the current format of the GST Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT) as unconstitutional since the number of judicial members must exceed the number of technical members, Madras High Court on Friday ruled that advocates do not have a fundamental right to become judges/judicial members of GSTAT.

A Division Bench of Justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad, gave the judgment on two similar petitions which challenged Sections 109 and 110 of Chapter XVIII of the Central GST Act as well as the corresponding provisions in the state Act.

The petitioners, an advocate and the Revenue Bar Association, contended that the GSTAT would be constituted with one judicial member and two technical members, one each from the Centre and the State. And they argued that this would result in the dominance of the technical members striking at the root of the principle of separation of powers and impinge upon the independence of the judiciary.

Exclusion of lawyers from being appointed to the GSTAT was also challenged since the provisions allows for civil servants and judicial officers.

But, Additional Solicitor General G Rajagopalan, appearing for the Law Ministry, contended that the lawyers right to practice under Article 19 (1) of the Constitution does not include the right to be appointed as judges.

While Tamil Nadu argued that members appointed need to be legally qualified and judicially trained, the counsel for the Union Finance Minister submitted that what is essential is that the appointees have adjudicative experience. Further, the counsel said since the GSTAT is yet to be constituted, the petitions were premature.

First Published: Sep 20, 2019 19:05 IST

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