GST – Hierarchy of Appeals

Appeals provisions are stated in Chapter XVIII of the Act. We have covered that in detail in the previous article. Here, in this article as the name suggests we will learn more about the hierarchy of appeals, i.e. what are the hierarchy of courts where subsequent appeals can be filed and what are the formalities and procedures to be followed in such subsequent appeals.

Following is the hierarchy of courts/tribunals, where first and subsequent appeals are to be filed if the aggrieved party is not satisfied with the decision or order of the lower court/ tribunal:

  1. First Appellate Authority
  2. Appellate Tribunal
  3. High Court
  4. Supreme Court

As we can tell from the given list, the first appeal can be filed in the first appellate tribunal and the last appeal can be filed in the Supreme Court.

Appeals in Appellate Tribunal

Appellate Tribunals are bound by the procedure laid down in the Code of Civil Procedure and are guided by the principals of natural justice subject to the provisions of the Act. They have the same powers as are vested in the Civil Courts, including the following:

  • Summoning the attendance of any person and examining him on oath
  • Requiring the discovery and production of documents
  • Receiving evidence on affidavits, etc.

Who can file an Appeal?

  1. Any taxpayer aggrieved with the decision of any adjudicating authority under this Act.
  2. Commissioner of Central Tax after he had called for and examined the proceeding’s records of the said order and is not satisfied and has raised questions on the said verdict.

Timeline for filing an Appeal

  1. If the appeal is filed by the aggrieved taxpayer, then it is to be filed within three months from the date of communication of such order.
  2. If the appeal is filed by Commissioner, then it is to be filed within Six months from the date of communication of such order.

Extension of one month can be granted.

Appeals in High Court

Provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure,1908, relating to appeals to the High Court shall also apply to appeals filed to High Courts under this section. An appeal can be filed in High Court if the taxpayer is aggrieved by the decision of lower court or tribunal. Such an appeal is to be heard by a Bench of not less than two Judges.

However, High Court can only accept such appeal if it is satisfied that a substantial question of law is involved. High Court can pass a decision in any case, if:

  • An issue was not determined by any State or Area Bench of Appellate Authority.
  • An issue is erroneously determined by any State or Area Bench of Appellate Authority.

Who can file an Appeal?

Any person who is aggrieved with the decision of any State Bench or Area Bench of the Appellate Authority can file an appeal in the High Court.

Timeline for filing an Appeal

Such an appeal is required to be filed within 180 days of receiving the order of the Appellate Tribunal against which the appeal is to be filed in the High Court.

However, High Court can entertain such an appeal even after the expiry of said 180 days if the High Court is satisfied that there was sufficient cause for such delay

Appeals in Supreme Court

Provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, relating to appeals to the Supreme Court shall also apply to appeals filed to High Courts under this section. If the result of such appeal results in variation and reversal of the decision of the High court, the effect shall be given to such an order in the manner provided in Section 117.

Who can file an Appeal?

  • Any person who is aggrieved with the decision of any National Bench or Regional Bench of the Appellate Authority can file an appeal in the High Court.
  • Any person aggrieved by the judgment or order passed by the High Court in an appeal made under this section.

Irrespective of the appeals made, sums due to the Government as a result of any decision of the lower court shall be duly paid before filing such an appeal.