GST Appeals by the Party before the Appellate Tribunal under GST Act.

Following are some administrative features of the Tribunal:

1.         The powers of the Appellate Tribunal shall be exercisable by the National Bench and Benches thereof (hereinafter in this Chapter referred to as “Regional Benches”), State Bench and Benches thereof (hereafter in this Chapter referred to as “Area Benches”).

2.         The National Bench of the Appellate Tribunal shall be situated at New Dethi which shall be presided over by the President and shall consist of one Technical Member (Centre) and one Technical Member (State).

3.         The Government shall, on the recommendations of the Council, by notification, constitute such number of Regional Benches as may be required and such Regional Benches shall consist of a Judicial Member, one Technical Member (Centre) and one Technical Member (State).

4.         The National Bench or Regional Benches of the Appellate Tribunal shall have jurisdiction to hear appeals against the orders passed by the Appellate Authority or the Revisional Authority in the cases where one of the issues involved relates to the place of supply.

5.         The Government shall, by notification, specify for each State or Union territory, a Bench of the Appellate Tribunal (hereafter in this Chapter, referred to as “State Bench”) for exercising the powers of the Appellate Tribunal within the concerned State or Union territory.

6.         The State Bench or Area Benches shall have jurisdiction to hear appeals against the orders passed by the Appellate Authority or the Revisional Authority in the cases involving specific matters.

7.         The President and the State President shall, by general or special order, distribute the business or transfer cases among Regional Benches or, as the case may be, Area Benches in a State.

8.         Each State Bench and Area Benches of the Appellate Tribunal shall consist of a Judicial Member, one Technical Member (Centre) and one Technical Member (State) and the State Government may designate the senior most Judicial Member in a State as the State President.

9.         In the absence of a Member in any Bench due to vacancy or otherwise, any appeal may, with the approval of the President or, as the case may be, the State President, be heard by a Bench of two Members.

10.       The Government, in consultation with the President may, for the administrative convenience, transfer—

(a)        Any Judicial Member or a Member Technical (State) from one Bench to another Bench, whether National or Regional; or

(b)       Any Member Technical (Centre) from one Bench to another Bench, whether National, Regional, State or Area.

11.       The State Government, in consultation with the State President may, for the administrative convenience, transfer a Judicial Member or a Member Technical (State) from one Bench to another Bench within the State.

12.       No act or proceedings of the Appellate Tribunal shall be questioned or shall be invalid merely on the ground of the existence of any vacancy or defect in the constitution of the Appellate Tribunal.

Filing of appeals before the Tribunal.

(1)       The Tribunal is the second level of appeal, where appeals can be filed against the orders-in-appeal passed by the AA under section 107 or section 108 the Act by any person aggrieved by such an order-in-appeal.

(2)       The Tribunal has the discretion not to admit any appeal involving an amount of 50 thousand (Rs. 50,000) or less.

(3)       Appeal to the Tribunal is to be filed within 3 months from the communication of the order under appeal. Further, Tribunal has the power to condone delay of 3 months on being satisfied that there is sufficient cause for the delay.

The law also provides for cross-objections by the respondent against such part of the order against which the respondent may initially not have chosen to file an appeal. It is provided that on receipt of notice that an appeal has been filed (by the appellant), the party against whom the appeal has been preferred (i.e. the respondent) may, notwithstanding that he may not have appealed against such order or any part thereof, file within 45 days a memorandum of cross-objections against any part of the order appealed against and such memorandum shall be disposed of by the Appellate Tribunal as if it were an appeal presented within the time specified for the initial appeal. Condonation of delay of 45 days (on sufficient cause) applies here also. The form, fees, etc. for the appeals to Tribunal shall be as prescribed by Rules being made separately. The provisions for pre-deposit (including interest thereon) in respect of appeals before the Tribunal are similar to those before the AA.

An appeal can be filed only when the taxpayer make the payment of full amount of tax, interest, fees penalty for the part admitted by him and twenty per cent of disputed amount.

Where the appellant has paid the partial amount, the recovery proceedings for the balance amount shall be deemed to be stayed till the disposal of the appeal.

Every application made before the Appellate Tribunal,—

(a)        in an appeal for rectification of error or for any other purpose; or

(b)       for restoration of an appeal or an application,

shall be accompanied by such fees as may be prescribed.

Disposal of the aforesaid appeals (including cross-objections, review appeals, etc.) by the Tribunal will be done in following manner. Tribunal after hearing both sides may pass such orders thereon as it thinks fit, confirming, modifying or annulling the decision or order appealed against or may refer the case back to the AA or revisional authority, or to the original adjudicating authority, with such directions as it may think fit, for a fresh adjudication or decision, as the case may be, after taking additional evidence, if necessary. For reasons of natural justice (reasonable opportunity) it is also provided that the Tribunal may, if sufficient cause is shown, grant upto 3 adjournments to either side.

The Tribunal also has the power to rectify any apparent mistake in its order if such mistake is noticed by the Tribunal’ or is brought to its notice by either side, within a period of three months from the date of the order. However, no amendment which has the effect of enhancing an assessment or reducing a refund or input tax credit or otherwise increasing the liability of the other party, shall be made under this provision unless the Tribunal has given notice to him of its intention to do so and has allowed him a reasonable opportunity of being heard.

The Tribunal shall, where it is possible to do so, hear and decide every appeal within a period of 1 year from filing. Copies of the Tribunal’s orders are to be sent to the Appellate Authority, Revisional Authority or the original adjudicating authority, the appellant, the jurisdictional Commissioner or the Commissioner of State tax or the Union territory tax.

As the Tribunal is considered to be the final fact-finding authority,
every order passed by it shall be final, subject to the provisions of section
117 (appeal to HC on questions of law) or 118 (appeal to SC).

The Appellate Tribunal shall, for the purposes of discharging its functions under this Act, have the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 while trying a suit in respect of the following matters, namely:

(a)       summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath;

(b)       requiring the discovery and production of documents;

(c)        receiving evidence on affidavits;

(d)       subject to the provisions of sections 123 and 124 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, requisitioning any public record or document or a copy of such record or document from any office;

(e)        issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents;

(f)        dismissing a representation for default or deciding it ex parte

(g)       setting aside any order of dismissal of any representation for default or any order passed by it ex parte; and

(h)       any other matter which may be prescribed.

Any order made by the Appellate Tribunal may be enforced by it in the same manner as if it were a decree made by a court in a suit pending therein, and it shall be lawful for the Appellate Tribunal to send for execution of its orders to the court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction,—

(a)        in the case of an order against a company, the registered office of the company is situated; or

(b)       in the case of an order against any other person, the person concerned voluntarily resides or carries on business or personally works for gain.

All proceedings before the Appellate Tribunal shall be deemed to be judicial proceedings within the meaning of sections 193 and 228, and for the purposes of section 196 of the Indian Penal Code, and the Appellate Tribunal shall be deemed to be civil court for the purposes of section 195 and Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

 
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