New Delhi [India], July 22 (ANI): A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed by lawyer and activist, Amit Sahni, before the Supreme Court seeking appropriate orders and directions to the Centre, including that of constituting Goods and Services Tax (GST) Tribunal.
The PIL said that in 2016, the GST Bill was passed in both the houses of the Parliament and from July 1, the Central Goods and Services Act, 2017, came into force.
"Section 109 of the Act mandates the constitution of a GST Appellate Tribunal which is not constituted even after 4 years of the Act being into existence," Sahni said in his PIL, a copy of which has been accessed by ANI.
"The constitution of National and other Benches of Appellate Tribunal under section 109 of the CGST Act, 2017 is an absolute necessity of the hour and the Respondents cannot drag its constitution for an indefinite period," Sahni said in the PIL.
The plea, filed before the Supreme Court stated that in absence of an Appellate Tribunal, the litigants are not able to get justice within a reasonable period and the same is causing extreme hardship to the litigants across the country.
The plea, filed before the Supreme Court through lawyer Preeti Singh, said that soon after demonetization (in November 2016), which adversely affected the business of the common man, the respondents (Union of India - UOI) have hurriedly implemented GST on one hand, while on the contrary, it has deliberately not constituted the GST Tribunal as provided under the Act.
Further, the GST was introduced with the objectives to simplify the taxation laws in India 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, the petition filed by Sahni said.
"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.
Sahni had earlier made a representation to the Ministry of Finance and also to the GST Council, and requested that appropriate and expeditious steps must be taken in order to constitute the Appellate Tribunal as mandated under Section 109 of the Central Goods and Services Act, 2017 to avoid the huge backlog of cases.
He also said that as "no steps have been taken to constitute either the National Bench or other benches," thereby the poor litigants are facing a lot of hardships to pursue their cases there.
"Appellate process is pending in many cases arising against the orders/directions passed by the appellate authority on the ground of absence of any appellate tribunal and thus defying the very objectives of introducing the GST Act," the PIL filed by Sahni further said. (ANI)