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States » South


Madras HC says Constitution of GST Appellate Tribunal Unconstitutional

Chennai, Sep 20 (UNI) The Madras High court on Thursday observed
that constitution of the GST Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT) as
unconstitutional as the number of judicial members must exceed the
number of technical members.
It also ruled that advocates do not have a fundamental right to
become judges/judicial members of GSTAT.
A Division Bench comprising Justices S Manikumar and Subramonium
Prasad, passed the orders on petitions challenging 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.
They contended 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 was yet to be constituted,
the petitions were premature.
UNI GV1858
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