By- Neha Virmani
The Centre has formed a committee to streamline revenue litigation pending before the Supreme Court, solicitor general Tushar Mehta told the top court on Friday after the judges sought reduction in long delays in filing tax appeals.
The committee comprising representatives of the National Informatics Centre, law ministry, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Central Board of Indirect Taxes (CBIT, and the department of revenue will work on an electronic case management system by which revenue litigation from tribunals and high courts can be monitored to provide for a time-bound mechanism for filing appeals in the top court.
The bench of justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah earlier directed the Centre to come out with a mechanism to reduce delays since appeals for direct and indirect taxes were being filed much beyond the stipulated period of 60 days for regular appeals and 90 days for filing special leave petition (SLP).
In February this year, the Supreme Court spotlighted this problem after an appeal against the order of the Customs Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal was filed after a delay of 536 days. The delayed move upset the bench. “Repeatedly, it has come to the notice of this Court that appeals in revenue matters involving indirect taxation are being filed with a gross delay,” the bench said.
On Friday, the top court gave the government three more months to come up with a solution in view of the constitution of a committee. “A committee has been constituted of various stakeholders to ensure due adoption of technology to streamline, monitor, and seamlessly integrate all phases of government litigation,” the bench noted as it posed the case after three months.
The bench also directed the revenue secretary to personally monitor and provide assistance to the committee, both with regard to domain knowledge and technical assistance.