The Awadh Bar Association filed a PIL in the Allahabad high Court, proposing the want and need to establish a separate GST Tribunal with State Bench in Lucknow. The PIL was filed on recently and has been listed for hearing on March 4,this Thursday.
One day’s time was given to the Central government, the GST Council, the Uttar Pradesh government and others by the Court to take the needed instructions on the matter. The Court said, “Learned counsel for opposite parties no.1 and 2 as well as learned Standing Counsel appearing on behalf of opposite parties no.3 and 4 pray for and are allowed one day's time to complete their instructions in the matter. On their request, case is adjourned today.
Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that there is extreme urgency in the matter. Considering the same, list/put up on 4th March, 2021, as fresh”
The bar association made submissions of the 40th GST Council Meet in which one such recommendations was the establishment of the State Bench of GST Tribunal in Lucknow. The Court was approached by a PIL to implement the same.
Their plea read, “To issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of mandamus directing the respondent no. 2 (GST Council) to forward the recommendation contained in Agenda item No. 7 of the minutes of its 40th meeting dated 12.06.2020 forthwith.
To issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of mandamus commanding the Opp-party No. 1 (Union of India) to establish the State Bench of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal under the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 at Lucknow and also the Area Benches in view proposal of State Government 29.05.2020 and the decision of the GST Council dated 12.06.2020”
The Bench hearing the matter would comprise of Justices Ritu Raj Awasthi and Manish Mathur. The Awadh Association is represented by Advocates HGS Parihar and JN Mathur and assisted by Advocate Prafulla Tiwari. The Centre being represented by Shashi Prakash Singh, Additional Solicitor General for India.
The UP government was asked by the GST Council to establish the State Bench of the Tribunal in 2018, however, since Lucknow was more ‘centrally located’ as the State government recommended, in 2019 a petition was filed challenging this change and the High Court favoured the establishment of the State Bench at Allahabad instead.
Later in 2021 February, Justices Surya Prakash Kesarwani and Dr. Yogendra Kumar Srivastava of the Allahabad High Court bench passed an order in M/S Torque Pharmaceuticals v. Union of India, and the following was issued,
- “The GST Council shall forward its recommendation of Agenda Item No.6 of the 39th Meeting held on March 14, 2020, to the Central Government/ respondent No.1 within two weeks.
- The Central Government is directed to 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. This was to be done within four weeks
- The respondent were directed to 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 April 1, 2021.”