Sales Tax Tribunal Bar Association vs. State (Bombay High Court)
September, 17th 2013
Govt. directed to take steps for filling vacancies of Members, providing accommodation to them and to consider increasing their retirement age limit
The Sales Tax Tribunal Bar Association filed a Writ Petition seeking certain directions relating to appointment of Members of the Sales Tax Tribunal under the Maharashtra Value Added Tax Act, 2002. HELD by the High Court:
(i) At present there are 5 Benches of the Sales Tax Tribunal, but on account of the vacancies in the post of Members, at present only 1 Bench is functional. It is surprising that the State Government has not realised that sales tax revenue to the extent of about Rs.4,500 crores is locked up on account of litigation pending before the Sales Tax Tribunal;
(ii) Even when retired District Judges are appointed as Members of the Sales Tax Tribunal they do not wish to continue on account of not being provided with residential accommodation. Very recently one Member (originally belonging to Judicial service) has tendered resignation only due to absence of residential accommodation in Mumbai. On account of the above difficulty of accommodation not being provided to the retired Judges who are appointed as Members, the High Court on the administrative side also finds it difficult to obtain willingness of retired Judges for appointment as Members of the Sales Tax Tribunal. It would be desirable for the State Government to provide residential accommodation to all the Members of the Tribunal so as to ensure proper functioning of the Tribunal;
(iii) The suggestion made by the Bar Association that as the retirement age of the President of Tribunal is 65 years, there is no reason why the other Members of the Tribunal should not be given retirement age of 65 years is quite reasonable and the State Government may consider the same at the earliest.