• The Union Cabinet approved the creation of a National Bench of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT), which would serve as the forum of second appeals to do with the applicability of GST, and will also be the first common forum of dispute resolution between the Centre and the States.
  • The National Bench of the Appellate Tribunal, to be situated in New Delhi, will be presided over by its president.
  • It will consist of a technical member from the Centre and a representative of the States. “This is part and parcel of the GST provisions.
  • They had to create the Tribunal.
  • The way they had envisaged it was that assessment would be done by people below the rank of Commissioner, and the appeals would be with the Commissioner.
  • The Commissioner (Appeals) could then go to the Tribunal.
  • They have now approved the setting up of that Tribunal
  • Chapter XVIII of the CGST Act provides for an appeal and review mechanism for dispute resolution under the GST regime.
  • Section 109 of this chapter empowers the Centre to constitute, on the recommendation of the GST Council, an appellate tribunal for hearing appeals against the orders passed by the Appellate Authority.
  • The government, it is learnt, was initially planning an appellate tribunal in each State.
  • However, the idea was discarded in favour of one at the national level following the experience with the various state-level advance ruling authorities, which often gave conflicting judgments.
  • The disputes they would be looking at would be appeals under GST law wherein the taxpayer is contesting the tax demand put by the tax department
  • The appeal based on the assessment would be made to the Commissioner (Appeals) and from there there would be an appeal to the Appellate Tribunal.
  • The creation of the National Bench would involve a one-time expenditure of ₹92.50 lakh.
  • While typically not many litigations should have been adjudicated, still early formation of this Appellate Authority would help prevent any unwarranted delays in the adjudication of appeals to be filed in the future.