The Petition filed by Awadh Bar Association of Lucknow High Court was heard today. The case was heard by the bench of Hon’ble Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Hon’ble Justice Manish Mathur. The Court has granted a days time to the Counsel for the Central Government to seek instruction in the matter.
The case has now been posted for 04/03/2021
In this Petition, the Association has challenged the decision dated 14.03.2020 of GST Council and further sought a direction to implement the initial proposal of State Government dated 21.02.2019 for constitution of Tribunal at Luknow.
Senior Advocates Dr. L.P. Mishra and Sri J N Mathur appeared on behalf of the Awadh Bar Association and submitted that for the purpose of constitution of GST Tribunal, the location of the Principal bench, if any, is not relevant.
It was submitted before the Court that the High Court has already vide its Judgment and Order dated 31.05.2019 passed in PIL Civil No. 6800 of 2019, has held that there is no judicial precedent to the effect that the Tribunal or more specifically GST Tribunal should only be established at the Principal Seat of the High Court. The constitution and establishment of Tribunal lies in the exclusive domain of the Executive.
Further submission was that Lucknow is very well connected with all the cities and States through Airport, Railway Station, Bus Station Etc. therefore litigants will not face any difficulty in pursuing their case.
As such at the most an area bench can be established at Allahabad (Prayagraj) to cater the need of the litigants around Prayagraj.
It is necessary to highlight here that in August 2018, the State Government recommended to the GST Council to establish State Bench of GST Tribunal at Lucknow and Area Benches at Prayagraj and 19 other cities. Thereafter several conflicting orders were passed by both the benches of Allahabad High Court.
It was submitted before the Court that due to repeated requirement of personal appearance of the officials of GST Council before the Allahabad High Court, the GST Council under pressure changed its earlier recommendation dated 12 June 2020 for establishing State Bench at Lucknow.
Meanwhile the Strike is continuing at both the benches of the High Court and the issue of the Education Tribunal is also being contested between the Associations of both the benches.