The Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court has been moved by the Awadh Bar Association, demanding the establishment of the GST Appellate Tribunal in Lucknow and not Allahabad.
The Petition has been filed by the Association’s General Secretary Sharad Pathak through Advocate Prafulla Tiwari.
The Petition finds its genesis from various conflicting orders passed by the High Court at Allahabad and that at Lucknow, for establishment of the GST Appellate Tribunal in those respective cities.
On August 2018, the GST Council had sought for the state government’s recommendation for establishment of a state bench and area benches of the Tribunal.
In February 2019, the Uttar Pradesh government recommended for state bench at Lucknow and 20 area benches in different cities.
Thereafter, several orders were passed by the two High Court benches leading to a tussle as it where the state bench of the GST Tribunal should be established.
On June 12, 2020, the GST Council took a decision for creation of GST state bench at Lucknow.
The petitioner has now sought enforcement of this decision which as per them is in line with the state government’s initial recommendation and was taken after considering all aspects of the matter.
“Despite the said decision having been taken and the same being legally correct, the same is not being acted upon and the GST Tribunal is yet to see the light of the day. This is resulting in grave hardship to the litigants as well as to the public at large. Therefore, it is expedient in the interest of justice that the decision of the GST Council dated March 14, 2020 be quashed and the initial proposal of State Government on February 21, 2019 culminating the Respondent No. l be directed to constitute the Tribunal in accordance with the said decision, forthwith” the Petition said.
The Association has said that the fact that the principal seat of the High Court is in Allahabad is not relevant for the purpose of deciding the location of the tribunal.
“It has been categorically held by this Hon’ble Court vide judgment and order dated May 31, 2019 passed PILL. Civil No. 6800 of 2019, that there is no such law or a judicial pronouncement that the GST Tribunal or any other Tribunal should only be established at Principal seat the location of the Tribunal falls in the exclusive domain of the executive and is an issue which is non justiciable,”
-the petition argued.
The petition further submitted that Lucknow is very convenient to the litigants in view of its geographical situation, well connectivity with railways, airway as well as expressways and highways, and therefore, litigants can easily come to Lucknow to pursue their cases in the city.