The Allahabad High Court has issued directions to the Central Government to constitute State Bench of GST Council at Prayagraj and four Area Benches at Ghaziabad, Lucknow, Varanasi and Agra, within 4 weeks of the Order.
A Division Bench of Hon’ble Justice SP Kesarwani and Hon’ble Justice Dr Y K Srivastava, while dealing with bunch of Writ Petitions relating to the constitution of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal under the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 issued following directions:
(i) The GST Council shall forward its recommendation of Agenda Item No.6 of the 39th Meeting held on 14.03.2020 to the Central Government/ respondent No.1 within two weeks from today.
(ii) Thereafter, the respondent No.1/ Central Government shall, within next four weeks, specify by notification in terms of sub-Section (6) of Section 109 of the CGST Act the “State Bench” at Prayagraj (Allahabad), of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal and four Area Benches at Ghaziabad, Lucknow, Varanasi and Agra, in the State of Uttar Pradesh for exercising the powers of the Appellate Tribunal.
(iii) The respondent Nos.1, 2, 3 and 6 shall ensure that the State Bench and the Area Benches of the Appellate Tribunal (Goods and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal) in the State of Uttar Pradesh are made functional as far as possible from 01.04.2021.
(iv) Since the challenge to the impugned orders relates to questions of fact and the Appellate Tribunal is the last fact finding authority, therefore, we leave it open for all the petitioners to challenge the impugned orders before the Appellate Tribunal under Section 112 of the CGST Act/ U.P. GST Act as and when the State Bench and Area Benches of the Appellate Tribunal are constituted in the State of Uttar Pradesh.
The Court has further directed that till expiry of the period of limitation for filing appeals under Section 112 of the CGST Act after establishment of the State Bench and Area Benches or till appeals are filed, whichever is earlier, no coercive action shall be taken against the petitioners herein pursuant to the impugned orders passed by the first authority or the first appellate authority. Liberty has also been granted to the petitioners to avail such remedy as available to them under law in respect of other reliefs which have not been considered and decided by this judgment.