Additional Solicitor General G Rajagopalan argued before the Madras High Court that,lawyers have no right to be appointed as judges of tribunals unless a statute provides for the same. This was made in contention to plea brought by Advocate V Vasanthakumar and the Revenue Bar Association (RBA) assailing Sections 109 and 110 of Chapter XVIII of the Central Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act and the corresponding provisions in the state Act. It was further argued that, theexclusion of advocates from being appointed as judges of the GST Appellate Tribunals is unconstitutional. However, it was contended that without statutory backing the appointment of lawyers as judges would be illegal.
It was stated that,the administrative (technical) members appointed to the GST Appellate Tribunals had sufficient adjudicatory experience, which the lawyers do not have always. The most important point raised was that Tribunals are quasi judicial bodies, hence quasi-judicial functions denote judicial functions being performed by administrative authorities.The exclusion of lawyers from being considered as tribunal judges is a deviation from the norm.
The Madras High Court Bench, emphasized that the contentious issue did not lie with the appointment of administrative members to the GST tribunals, but rather on whether there can be a predominance of administrative members over judicial members.