• Notification Date: 24-12-2023
  • Notification No: N/A

Rajya Sabha passes Bill to set up GST Appellate Tribunals, Easing Age Cap

The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday granted an approval to a bill aimed at facilitating the setting up of Goods and Services Tax (GST) appellate tribunals (GSTAT). The approved bill brings about crucial modifications to the terms of appointment for tribunal members and establishes a minimum age cap of 50 years for both members and presidents of the tribunal. 

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

The bill was passed in the absence of opposition members, who were suspended over the past few days. 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman moved the bill for discussion. The bill, which was already passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, seeks to amend the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017. 

The proposed amendments focus on refining the existing structure of the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act, 2017, specifically addressing the levy and collection of CGST on intra-state goods and services transactions. 

Currently, 28 tribunals are being set up. 

The Bill aims to diversify the pool of eligible candidates for judicial appointments to these tribunals. It introduces a provision allowing advocates with a minimum of 10 years of experience, particularly in matters related to indirect taxation, to serve as judicial members. 

The minimum age requirement for appointment as a member or president of the tribunal is set at 50 years, ensuring a wealth of experience in those assuming these crucial roles. Furthermore, the bill extends the age limit for the president of the tribunal from 67 to 70 years and for members from 65 to 67 years. 

Highlighting the urgency for these amendments, the bill emphasises that the non-constitution of GSTAT deprives taxpayers of a second appellate remedy. Consequently, taxpayers have been compelled to seek relief directly from the High Court, placing an undue burden on them. The bill seeks to streamline the process and enhance the efficiency of the GST appellate system.