Legislation UpdatesNotifications

S.O. 1369(E)— In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 4 of the Life Insurance Corporation of India Act, 1956 (31 of 1956), the Central Government hereby appoints Shri M.R. Kumar, Zonal Manager (In-charge), North Zone, Life Insurance Corporation of India, Delhi as Chairman, Life Insurance Corporation of India in the pay scale of Rs. 2,25,000/- (fixed), for a period of five years with effect from the date of assumption of charge of the post on or after the date of vacancy, or upto the date of his superannuation, or until further orders, whichever is the earliest.

[F. No. A-15011/02/2018-Ins.-I (1)]

Notification Dated: 14-03-2019

Ministry of Finance

Appointments & TransfersNews

S.O.1299(E)— In accordance of the Notification dated 21-02-2019 regarding constituting a Development and Welfare Board for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities, as published in the Gazette of India Extraordinary Part-II, Section-3, Sub-Section (ii), the Central Government hereby appoints the following persons for the posts of Chairman and Members with effect from the date of assumption of charge by them:-

(1) Sh. Bhiku Ramji Idate: Chairman
(2) Ms. Mittal Patel: Member
(3) Sh. Otaram Dewasi: Member

The tenure of the aforesaid Chairman and the Members shall be three years from the date of assumption of charge by them.

[F. No. 16014/04/2018-BC-III]

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Explaining the scope of the powers of the Chairman of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), the Bench of R. Banumathi and Indira Banerjee, JJ said:

“The Chairman, like the Chief Justice of the Higher Courts or the Chief Judge of subordinate courts, may be higher in order of protocol and may have additional administrative duties and responsibilities. However, the Chairman, acting judicially, is equal to any other Member.”

In the case at hand, the CAT Chairman had stayed the proceedings pending before a Division Bench of the Uttarakhand High Court. The High Court had, hence, quashed the said order by the CAT Chairman.

Going through the provisions of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985, the Court noticed:

“A careful reading of Section 25 of the Act makes it clear that the Chairman deciding the question of whether a matter should be transferred from one Bench to another cannot grant interim stay of proceedings, there being no power conferred on the Chairman under the said section to pass such interim stay.”

It further elaborated on the scope of the powers of the CAT Chairman by stating that the Chairman may constitute Benches, shift members from one Bench to another, constitute Single Benches, Division Benches and even larger Benches, allocate business to the Benches and even transfer cases from one Bench to the other,

“but having done so he cannot interfere with the functioning of the Benches or tinker with its orders by passing interim orders in a transfer petition.”

Stating that an interim order passed by a court, on consideration of the prima facie case made out by an applicant, should ordinarily have been vacated by a Bench of coordinate strength after giving open notice to the applicant, the bench said:

“If the Chairman was of the considered opinion that there was urgency in the application for vacating the interim order, the Chairman ought to have assigned the application for vacating and/or vacation of the interim order to a Bench of two or more Members to consider whether the interim order should continue or be vacated. The Chairman could also have exercised his power to suo motu transfer the proceedings to another Bench without prior notice. The order of stay of the proceedings before the Nainital Bench is without jurisdiction and unsustainable in law.”

The Court upheld the decision of the High Court and held that the order of the Chairman of CAT staying proceedings before the two-member Bench was without jurisdiction and unsustainable in law as the CAT Chairman, being one amongst equals, could not have stayed proceedings pending before a larger Bench. [All India Institute of Medical Sciences v. Sanjiv Chaturvedi, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 118, decided on 01.02.2019]

Appointments & TransfersNews

Shri S. Ramesh, IRS (C&CE:1981) has taken over as Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs [CBIC], on superannuation of Smt. Vanaja N. Sarna today . Prior to his elevation, he was Member (Administration) in the Board.  Shri S. Ramesh began his career in Mumbai as Asst Commissioner, Central Excise and thereafter in Mumbai Customs. He has worked in various capacities in Hyderabad, Nagpur, Chennai, Trichy etc. He was the Chief Commissioner, Chennai Customs Zone from 2013 to 2016. Thereafter, he took over as Director General, Systems & Data Management. He joined the Board in September, 2016 as Member (IT, Central Excise & Service Tax).

Ministry of Finance

Appointments & TransfersNews

In an immediate follow up action of last week’s Cabinet approval for creation of the posts of Chairman and Technical Members of the National Anti-profiteering Authority under GST, the Government issued orders appointing senior IAS officer Shri B.N. Sharma, as the first Chairman of this apex Authority in the rank of Secretary to Government of India.

Shri B.N. Sharma, an IAS officer of 1985 batch belonging to Rajasthan cadre, is currently posted as Additional Secretary in the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance. Shri B.N. Sharma has been closely associated with the formulation of GST and its implementation. He has also worked as Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Power and prior to that, in the Commercial Taxes Department in the State of Rajasthan. As its first Chairman, Shri B.N. Sharma is expected to give a direction to the Authority in boosting the confidence of consumers that GST is a ”Good and Simple Tax” in the overall national interest.

Shri B.N. Sharma would be assisted by four senior officials of the rank of Joint Secretary and above, who have been appointed as Technical Members in the Authority. These officials are Shri J.C. Chauhan, Chairman Tax Tribunal, Himachal Pradesh; Shri Bijay Kumar, Principal Commissioner GST, Kolkata; Shri C.L. Mahar, Principal Commissioner GST, Meerut; and Ms. R. Bhagyadevi, ADG, Systems, Chennai.

The appointment orders of Shri B.N. Sharma as Chairman and of the other officials as Technical Members of the Authority were issued on the recommendation of a high level Selection Committee headed by Shri P.K. Sinha, Cabinet Secretary. Revenue Secretary, Chairman, CBEC and Chief Secretaries of States of Maharashtra and Tamilnadu were the other members of the Selection Committee.

The Authority has been set up for a two-year period, which would begin from the date Shri B.N. Sharma assumes charge as Chairman. The Authority is mandated to ensure that the benefits of input credit and the reduction in GST rates on specified goods or services are passed on to the consumers by way of a commensurate reduction in prices. With the Chairman and Technical Members now having been appointed, the Authority becomes functional thereby reassuring consumers of Governments’ commitment that GST would result in lower prices of goods and services.

It may be recalled that in almost every meeting, the GST Council has been engaged in rationalizing and reducing the GST rates on a wide spectrum of goods and services. The last and indeed the most significant reduction took place from midnight of 14 November, 2017 when the GST rate were slashed from 28% to 18% on goods falling under 178 headings. This now leaves only 50 items which attract the highest GST rate of 28%. Likewise, a large number of items witnessed a reduction in GST rates from 18% to 12% and so on with some goods being completely exempt from GST.

In addition to the Authority, the institutional mechanism for effective implementation of the “anti-profiteering” measures enshrined in the GST rules consists of a Standing Committee, State level Screening Committees and the Directorate General of Safeguards in the Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC).

Consumers who are aggrieved that there has been no commensurate reduction in prices may apply for relief to the Screening Committee in the State. After forming a prima facie view on the substance of the application, the matter would be referred to a Standing Committee at the Centre. The Standing Committee shall, in turn, ask the Director General of Safeguards, CBEC to carry out detailed investigation. The Director General of Safeguards shall report its findings to the Authority. The Screening Committee is expected to look into complaints of local nature while the Standing Committee would ordinarily enquire into cases of mass impact with All India ramification.

Once the Authority confirms there is justification to apply anti-profiteering measures, it has the authority to order the business concerned to reduce its prices or return the undue benefit availed along with interest @18% to the consumers of the goods or services. If the undue benefit cannot be passed on to the consumers, it can be ordered to be deposited in the Consumer Welfare Fund. The Authority also has the power to impose penalty on the defaulting business or even order the cancellation of its registration under GST.

The Authority shall function from the Jeevan Bharti Building, Connaught Place, New Delhi. The secretariat for the Authority shall be as follows:

Directorate General of Safeguards,

2nd Floor, Bhai Veer Singh Sahitya Sadan,

Bhai Veer Singh Marg, Gole Market,

New Delhi: 110001.

Email: anti-profiteering@gov.in

Tel.: 011-23741537

Ministry of Finance