Despite promising the state two benches of the GST Appellate Tribunal, the union finance ministry has issued a notification allocating only one bench to Kerala and Lakshadweep.
This has caused confusion and disappointment in Kerala, where the state government had already passed a Bill to set up two benches. The state has now requested the union government to clarify the situation.
Kerala had asked for three benches of the tribunal, to be located in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, and Kozhikode. However, the union government has said that only two benches can be started initially, with two members each. However, the latest notification said one bench would be set up with four members.
The state government has sought clarification on whether it can appoint two members each in Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam.
The GST Appellate Tribunal hears appeals against decisions of the GST authorities. It is important for the speedy and effective resolution of GST disputes. A state bench contains two judicial members (high court judges) and two technical members (senior government staff of the state and union governments).