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Only e-filing in to-be-set up GSTAT tribunals: Supreme Court

New Delhi, Nov 15, 2022

The Supreme Court on Monday accepted the Centre’s suggestion to make to-be-constituted greenfield GST Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT) a paperless quasi-judicial forum by prescribing mandatory electronic filing of appeals by the government authorities as well as private parties.

Appreciating the efforts put in by additional solicitor general Balbir Singh and the high-powered committee set up under SC orders for streamlining electronic filing of revenue cases before various judicial and quasi-judicial forums, a bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala said the efforts have bore fruit as “there are only few instances where the revenue department seeks condonation of delay.”

Mismanagement of revenue case files have been as old as the department and on several occasions, it had lost huge amounts merely because appeals or cases had not been filed within the limitation period.

Singh submitted a comprehensive note on Information and Communication-based Technology and suggested that GSTAT, which could be set up soon as the groundwork for it is being completed, could be made a paperless court by mandating compulsory e-filing by both government and private parties.

The bench in its order said, “The suggestion is worth acceptance as the GSTAT, being a green-field tribunal, could be made a paperless forum. All filings in GSTAT should be through e-filing,” it said.

Last month the Union cabinet approved the setting up of the National bench of GSTAT at New Delhi. As per the provisions, GSTAT can hear matters in an appeal against the orders passed by the GST appellate authority or revisional authority. National GSTAT can take up matters where one of the issues involved is regarding the place of supply while State GSTATs will address appeals on all other GST issues.

Singh also informed the court that digitization of almost all revenue cases in the various HCs, CESTAT and ITAT are now being filed through electronic mode. The ASG said in the HCs, the target achieved is around 99.2% while it is cent percent in CESTAT and ITAT.

The bench appreciated the efforts and said, “When all revenue filings are done through electronic mode, it will save the country wastage of huge amounts of paper.” SC said it will monitor the progress made in ICT intervention in filing of revenue cases in various judicial and quasi-judicial forums as well as GSTAT in February first week.

[The Times of India]

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