Introduction
Tax laws (or any laws, for that matter) impose obligations.
Such obligations are broadly of two kinds: tax-related
and procedure-related. The taxpayer’s compliance with
these obligations is verified by the tax officer (by various
instruments such as scrutiny, audit, anti-evasion, etc.), as a
result of which sometimes there are situations of actual or
perceived non-compliance. If the difference in views persists,
it results into a dispute, which is then required to be resolved.
Tax law recognizes that on any given set of facts and laws,
there can be different opinions or viewpoints. Hence, it is
likely that the taxpayer may not agree with the “adjudication
order” so passed by the tax officer. It is equally possible
that the Department may itself not be in agreement with
the adjudication order in some cases. It is for this reason
that the statute provides further channels of appeal, to both
sides.


However, since the right to appeal is a statutory right, the
statute also places reasonable fetters on the exercise of that
right. The time limits prescribed by the statute for filing of
appeals and the requirement of pre-deposit of a certain sum
before the appeal can be heard by the competent authority
are examples of such fetters on the statutory right.
GST being implemented in our country is a dual GST i.e.
to say every supply attracting the levy will be leviable to
both central tax and state tax. So does this mean that if a
taxpayer is aggrieved by any such transaction, he will have
to approach both the authorities for exercising his right of
appeal? The answer is a plain NO. The Act makes provisions
for cross empowerment between CGST and SGST/
UTGST officers so as to ensure that if a proper officer
of one Act (say CGST) passes an order with respect to a
transaction, he will also act as the proper officer of SGST
for the same transaction and issue the order with respect to
the CGST as well as the SGST/UTGST component of the
same transaction. The Act also provides that where a proper
officer under one Act(say CGST) has passed an order, any
appeal/review/revision/rectification against the said order
will lie only with the proper officers of that Act only (CGST
Act)So also if any order is passed by the proper officer of
SGST, any appeal/review/revision/rectification will lie with
the proper officer of SGST only.


Appellate Mechanism
A person who is aggrieved by a decision or order passed
against him by an adjudicating authority, can file an appeal
to the Appellate Authority (AA, for short). It is important
to note that it is only the aggrieved person who can file
the appeal. Also, the appeal must be against a decision or
order passed under the Act. It is to be noted that no appeals
whatsoever can be filed against the following orders:-
(a) an order of the Commissioner or other authority
empowered to direct transfer of proceedings from one
officer to another officer;
(b) an order pertaining to the seizure or retention of books
of account, register and other documents; or
(c) an order sanctioning prosecution under the Act; or
(d) an order passed under section 80 (payment of tax in
instalments).


The time limit for the party to file an appeal before the
AA is 3 months from the date of communication of the
impugned order. But the AA may condone a delay of up to
one month, if he is satisfied that there was sufficient cause
for such delay.
The AA has to follow the principles of natural justice – such
as hearing the appellant, allowing reasonable adjournments
(not more than 3), permitting additional grounds (if found
reasonable), etc. The AA can also make such further inquiry
as may be necessary.
On conclusion of the appeal process, the AA will pass his
order (Order-in-Appeal) which may confirm, modify or
annul the decision or order appealed against but shall not
refer the case back to the authority that passed the said
decision or order. The AA can also increase the “rigour”


Appeals and Review Mechanism under GST
of the order appealed against by enhancing any fee or
penalty or fine in lieu of confiscation or confiscating goods
of greater value or reducing the amount of refund or input
tax credit, but this can only be done after the AA has given
to the appellant a reasonable opportunity of showing cause
against the proposed order. Further, if the AA is of the
opinion that any tax has not been paid or short-paid or
erroneously refunded, or where input tax credit has been
wrongly availed or utilized, no order requiring the appellant
to pay such tax or input tax credit shall be passed unless the
appellant is given notice to show cause against the proposed
order and the order is passed within the time limit specified
under section 73 or Section 74 of the CGST Act, 2017.
The Order-in-appeal has to be a “speaking order” i.e. it
should state the points for determination, the decision
thereon and the reasons for the decision. The law provides
an advisory time limit of 1 year from date of filing of appeal
for the AA to decide the appeal.


Appeals before Tribunal
The Tribunal is the second level of appeal, where appeals
can be filed against the orders-in-appeal passed by the AA
or order in revision passed by revisional authority, by any
person aggrieved by such an order-in-appeal/Order in
revision.


The law envisages constitution of a two tier Tribunal i.e.
National Bench/Regional Benches and the State Bench/
Area Benches. Jurisdiction of the two constituents of
the GST Tribunal is also defined. If place of supply is
one of the issues in dispute, then the National Bench/
Regional benches of the Tribunal will have jurisdiction
to hear the appeal. If the dispute relates to issues other
than the place of supply, then the State/Area Benches will
have the jurisdiction to hear the appeal. An appeal from
the decision of the National Bench will lie directly to the
Supreme Court and an appeal from the decision of the
State Bench will lie to the jurisdictional High Court on
substantial questions of law.


Appeal to the Tribunal by the aggrieved person is to be
filed within 3 months from the communication of the order
under appeal. Further, Tribunal has the power to condone
delay (of up to 3 months in case of appeals or 45 days in
case of cross objections, beyond the mandatory period) on
being satisfied that there is sufficient cause for the delay.
The Tribunal has the discretion not to admit any appeal
involving an amount of Rs. Fifty Thousand or less.
The law also provides for filing of cross-objections by the
respondent against such part of the order against which
the respondent may initially not have chosen to file an
appeal. It is provided that on receipt of notice that an
appeal has been filed (by the appellant), the party against
whom the appeal has been preferred (i.e. the respondent)
may, notwithstanding that he may not have appealed
against such order or any part thereof, file within 45 days
a memorandum of cross-objections against any part of the
order appealed against and such memorandum shall be
disposed of by the Appellate Tribunal as if it were an appeal
presented within the time specified for the initial appeal.


Appeals and Review Mechanism under GST
Condonation of delay (on sufficient cause) applies here also,
but only to the extent of further 45 days from the date of
expiry of the period for filing cross objections. The form,
fees, etc. for the appeals to Tribunal shall be as prescribed
by Rules.
The Tribunal after hearing both sides may pass such orders
thereon as it thinks fit, confirming, modifying or annulling
the decision or order appealed against or may refer the case
back to the AA or to the revisional authority, or to the
original adjudicating authority, with such directions as it
may think fit, for a fresh adjudication or decision, as the
case may be, after taking additional evidence, if necessary.
For reasons of natural justice (reasonable opportunity) it
is also provided that the Tribunal may, if sufficient cause is
shown, grant up to 3 adjournments to either side.


Concept of pre-deposit
As mentioned earlier, the right to appeal is a statutory right
which operates within the limitations placed on it by the
law. One such limitation flows from the principle that an
appellant must first deposit the adjudged dues before his
further appeal can be heard. However, often an appellant
may succeed in his appeal, and hence it would (in retrospect)
be unfair to saddle him with this financial burden. To
balance these factors, tax laws mandate some “pre-deposit”
so as to discourage frivolous appeals and also safeguard the
bonafide interests of both the taxpayers and the revenue.
The CGST Act, 2017 require an appellant before AA to
pre-deposit full amount of tax, interest, fine, fee and
penalty, as is admitted by him, arising from the impugned
order and a sum equal to 10% of the remaining amount of
tax in dispute arising from the impugned order.
In so far as appeals to the Tribunal is concerned, no appeal
can be filed before the Tribunal unless the appellant has
deposited in full, such part of the amount of tax, interest,
fine, fee and penalty arising from the impugned order, as is
admitted by him, and a sum equal to 20% of the remaining
amount of tax in dispute, in addition to the amount
deposited before the AA, arising from the said order, in
relation to which appeal has been filed.
If the pre-deposit made by the appellant before the AA or
Tribunal is required to be refunded consequent to any order
of the AA or of the Tribunal, as the case may be, interest
at the rate specified in Section 56 shall be payable from the
date of payment of the amount (and not from the date of
order of AA or of the Tribunal) till the date of refund of
such amount.


Appeals by the Department (CGST/SGST) before the
AA/Tribunal
At times, the Department itself is not in agreement with
the decision or order passed by the (initial) adjudicating
authority or the appellate authority. The GST Law
provides that in such cases, the Department can file what is
commonly known as a “review application/appeal”.
The GST Law gives powers to the Commissioner to
review any order passed by his subordinates acting either


Appeals and Review Mechanism under GST
as an adjudicating authority, or the appellate authority or
revisional authority. If the Commissioner is of the view that
any order passed by such authorities are not legal and proper,
he can direct any officer subordinate to him to apply to the
competent authority. For example, if the order of adjudicating
authority is reviewed, he can order his subordinate to file an
appeal before the appellate authority. If the order of the
appellate authority or the revisional authority is reviewed,
he can direct his subordinate to file an appeal before the
Tribunal. The grounds for appeal will be mentioned in his
order. The review of the order and the consequent filing of
appeal by the subordinate has to be done within a period of
six months from the date of communication of the order.
The resultant review application is required to be dealt with
by the AA or the Tribunal as if it were an appeal made
against the decision or order of the adjudicating authority
and the statutory provisions relating to appeals shall, so far
as may be, apply to such application.


Revision by Commissioner (CGST/SGST)
The GST Act also provides for the mechanism of revision,
by the Revisional Authority, of the orders passed by his
subordinate officers. If the Revisional Authority on
examination of the case records is of the view that the
decision or order passed by any officer subordinate to him is
erroneous in so far as it is prejudicial to the interest of the
revenue, and is illegal or improper or has not taken into account
material facts, he may, if necessary, stay the operation of such
decision or order for such period as he deems fit and after
giving the person concerned an opportunity of being heard
and after making such further inquiry as may be necessary,
pass such order, as he thinks just and proper, including
enhancing or modifying or annulling the said decision or
order.


The above power is subject to the condition that nonappealable orders and decision cannot be revised. Further
the power of revision cannot be exercised if: -
(a) the order has been subject to an appeal before AA
or Tribunal or High Court or Supreme Court; or
(b) the period of six months (from the date of
communication of order) has not yet expired
or more than three years have expired after the
passing of the decision or order sought to be
revised; or
(c) the order has already been taken for revision at an
earlier stage; or
(d) the order sought to be revised is a revisional order
in the first place:
If the said decision or order involves an issue on which
the Appellate Tribunal or the High Court has given
its decision in some other proceedings and an appeal
to the High Court or the Supreme Court against such
decision of the Appellate Tribunal or the High Court
is pending, the period spent between the date of the
decision of the Appellate Tribunal and the date of the
decision of the High Court or the date of the decision


Appeals and Review Mechanism under GST

of the High Court and the date of the decision of the
Supreme Court shall be excluded in computing the
period of limitation of 3 years where proceedings for
revision have been initiated by way of issue of a notice
under section 108 of the CGST Act, 2017.
However, the Revisional Authority may pass an order on
any point which has not been raised and decided in an
appeal before AA/Tribunal/HC/SC, before the expiry of a
period of one year from the date of the order in such appeal
or before the expiry of a period of three years from the date
of initial order, whichever is later.


Concept of authorised representative
Any person who is entitled or required to appear before
a GST Officer or the AA or the Tribunal in connection
with any proceedings under the Act, may appear through an
authorised representative (except when he is required under
the Act to appear personally for examination on oath or
affirmation).
For this purpose, “authorised representative” has been
defined in the Act itself. Broadly, it includes a relative, a
regular employee, an advocate, a chartered accountant, a
cost accountant, a company secretary, or any person with
prescribed qualifications. It is also provided that indirect
tax gazetted officers can appear as authorised representative
after one year from retirement.
The GST law also provides for some disqualifications
for an authorised representative such as dismissal from

government service, conviction under some specified Acts,
insolvency, misconduct, etc. Such orders of disqualification
are, however, required to be passed after following the
principles of natural justice.


Appeal to the High Court
The law provides that either side (department or party) if
aggrieved by any order passed by the State Bench or Area
Bench of the Tribunal may file an appeal to the High Court
and the High Court may admit such appeal if it is satisfied
that the case involves a substantial question of law. It is to be
noted that on facts, the tribunal is the final authority.
Appeals to the High Court are to be filed within 180 days,
but the HC has the power to condone delay on being
satisfied of sufficient cause for the same.
On being satisfied that a substantial question of law is
involved, the High Court shall formulate that question,
and the appeal shall be heard only on the question so
formulated. However, the High Court has the power to
hear the appeal on any other substantial question of law if
it is satisfied that the case involves such question. The High
Court shall decide the questions of law so formulated and
deliver such judgment thereon containing the grounds on
which such decision is founded and may award such cost
as it deems fit. The High Court may determine any issue
which has not been determined by the Tribunal or has been
wrongly determined by the Tribunal, by reason of a decision
on such questions of law.
Appeals and Review Mechanism under GST

Appeal to the Supreme Court
The law provides for appeals to the Supreme Court from
any judgment or order passed by the High Court, in any
case which, on its own motion or on an oral application
made by or on behalf of the party aggrieved, immediately
after passing of the judgment or order, the High Court
certifies to be a fit one for appeal to the Supreme Court.
A (direct) appeal shall also lie to the Supreme Court from
any orders passed by the National/Regional Bench of the
Tribunal. It may be noted that the National/Regional
Bench of the Tribunal has jurisdiction to entertain appeal
if the dispute or one of the issues in dispute involves place
of supply.