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Composition of GST Appellate Tribunal is Unconstitutional, rules Madras High Court

The Madras High Court has ruled that the constitution of GST Appellate Tribunal ( GSTAT ) under the current GST regime is unconstitutional.

Advocate V. Vasanthakumar and Revenue Bar Association, the petitioners had challenged the composition, contending that the number of judicial members must be more than the number of technical members on the panel.

Petitioners had contended that Sections 109 and 110 of the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act 2017 are unconstitutional as the same is void, being violative of doctrines of separation of powers and independence of the judiciary.

As per the provisions of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act, for the composition of the appellate tribunals for tax matters must comprise one judicial member and two technical members (one each for central and state governments).

The petitioners made the reference of the Supreme Court decision in the Union of India vs R. Gandhi case wherein the apex court held that the number of judicial members on any bench of National Company Law Tribunal or National Company Law Appellate Tribunal must be exceeded or equal to the number of technical members.

The SC underlined that “in no circumstances” should the number of technical members be in majority as compared to judicial members.

Download Judgement: GSTAT Unconstitutional Judgement

Author: Niranjan Reddy

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