Sanjaya Kumar Mishra to head GST Appellate Tribunal
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The Centre has set in motion the Goods & Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT) with the appointment of retired Justice Sanjaya Kumar Mishra as its President. The setting up of the tribunal aims to help businesses resolve various disputes efficiently.

“The Appointment Committee of the Cabinet, based on the recommendation of the SCSC (Search-cum-Selection Committee), has approved appointment of Justice (Retd.) Sanjaya Kumar Mishra, Former Chief Justice, High Court of Jharkhand, to the post of President in Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal, in the salary of ₹2.50 lakh per month for a period of 4 years,” an order from Department of Personal and Training (DoPT) said. The four years will be counted from the date of his assuming charge or till attaining the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.

The Finance Ministry has already issued vacancy circulars for 63 judicial members and 33 Technical Members for the Centre and States together. Last September, the Centre issued a notification to set up 31 GSTAT benches with one Principal Bench in Delhi. Further, it was said that Uttar Pradesh will have three Benches, the highest in any given State in the country. Other larger States, such as Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra, will have two benches each. The Principal Bench will take up matters related to inter-State disputes, while Benches in States will take up all other issues, including rates. The aggrieved parties can move to the High Courts and Supreme Court.

GST Tribunals are envisioned as specialised bodies to handle disputes related to GST, providing a timely and efficient resolution mechanism. However, several legal, administrative and constitutional challenges have contributed to the delay in their establishment. GST Tribunals are essential for resolving tax matters because they provide an impartial, expert, and efficient forum for addressing tax disputes. They play a crucial role in ensuring fairness, accountability, and the rule of law in tax administration. It is said that setting up 31 benches in all major cities across the country will help resolve tax disputes and reduce the strain on jurisdictional High Courts.

Industry feels that in the absence of these tribunals, businesses had to approach the High Courts, which, in general, proved to be a long-drawn process and costly affair while also adding pressure on already overburdened High Courts. “This move, by way of ensuring speedier and economic resolution of cases by dedicated and specialized GSTATs, will help in bolstering business sentiments and ease of doing business in the country. The number of appeals against the orders of first Appellate Authorities has been rising sharply, which in the last 2 years alone moved up by more than double from 5,499 in 2020-21 to 11,899 cases in 2022-23,” Chandrajeet Banerjee, Director General at CII had said on the day of issue of notification.

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