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Rajya Sabha Passes Bill for GST Appellate Tribunals

The Rajya Sabha approved an amendment on Wednesday to make it easier to establish Goods and Services Tax (GST) appellate tribunals (GSTAT). The adopted measure makes significant changes to the terms of nomination for tribunal members and creates a minimum age restriction of 50 years for both members and tribunal presidents.

The House passed the Central Goods and Services Tax (Second Amendment) Bill for 2023.

The law was passed in the absence of opposition members, who had been suspended in recent days.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced the bill for discussion. The bill, which cleared the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, seeks to alter the Central Goods and Services Tax Act of 2017.

The proposed amendments aim to improve the present structure of the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act, 2017, with a particular emphasis on the charge and collection of CGST on intra-state goods and services transactions.

Currently, 28 tribunals are being established.

The Bill intends to broaden the pool of qualified applicants for judge appointments to these courts. It includes a provision that allows advocates with at least ten years of expertise, notably in indirect taxation, to serve as judicial members.

The minimum age criterion for appointment as a member or president of the tribunal is set at 50 years, ensuring that people holding these vital positions have a lot of experience.

Additionally, the measure raises the age restrictions for the tribunal’s members from 65 to 67 years old and for the president from 67 to 70 years old.

The bill emphasizes the importance of these modifications by stating that the non-constitution of GSTAT deprives taxpayers of a second appellate remedy. As a result, taxpayers have been forced to seek redress directly from the High Court, which places an excessive burden on them. The bill aims to improve the effectiveness of the GST appellate system by streamlining the procedure.

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