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Only High Court Judge To Be President Of CESTAT, VPs Post Abolished

The Ministry of Finance has issued a letter dated 14.09.2012 stating that the Notification dated 31.08.2012 has been issued inadvertently and that the procedure for issue of the Notification has not yet been completed. This has been pointed out by the due diligence of Shri. Rajesh Jain, FCA

Vide Notification dated 31.08.2012, the following changes have been effected in the CESTAT Members Service Conditions Rules. The principle terms of the changes are the following:

(i) Only High Court Judges (serving or retired) can be appointed President of the Tribunal;
(ii) The post of Vice-President has been abolished;
(iii) There is an increase in the retirement age. As against the present age of retirement of the President of 65, the President will now hold office for five years or till he attains the age of 68, whichever is earlier. Members will now retire at the age 65 instead of the present 62;
(iv) No reservation for the posts of Judicial & Technical Members.

Notes:

(a) It may be noted that in the past, changes to the CESTAT Rules have been followed by changes to the ITAT Rules E.g. the ban on the right on Ex-Members to practice before the Tribunal was first imposed on the CESTAT and then extended to the ITAT.

(b) As regards the abolition of the post of Vice President, it may be noted that in the ITAT, after the abolition of the rank of “Special Secretary” (that Vice President’s were entitled to), the Vice President and the Members enjoy the same status of the rank of “Additional Secretary”. There is also no difference in emoluments or service conditions. Further, Vice Presidents do not enjoy any independent statutory rights but exercise only those powers that are delegated to them by the President u/s 255(5) of the Act.

(c) There has been a long-standing demand by the BAR regarding the increase in the age limits for the ITAT (see What, Me Retire? & Old is Gold!)

Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue

Dated: August 31, 2012

NOTIFICATION

In exercise of the powers conferred by the proviso to article 309 of the Constitution of India, the President hereby makes the following rules to further amend the Customs, Excise And Service Tax Appellate Tribunal Members (Recruitment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 1987, namely:

1. (i) There rules may be called the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal Members (Recruitment and Conditions of Service) Amendment Rules, 2012.
(ii) They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the official Gazette.
2. In rule 2, clause (h) shall be deleted.
3. In rule 5, the word ‘Vice President‘ appearing twice shall be deleted.
4. In rule 10, the following shall be deleted/substituted –
(i) Clause (b) of sub-rule (1) shall be deleted.
(ii) Sub-rule (2) shall be deleted.
(iii) Sub-rule (3) shall be substituted as under:
The President shall hold the office as such for a term of 5 years from the date on which he enters upon his office;
provided that no President shall hold office as such after he has attained the age of sixty-eight years
.”

5. Rule 12 shall be deleted.
6. In Rule 14, sub-rule (1) shall be substituted as under :
(I) The pay scales of the President and the Members shall be as under:
President: Rs. 80,000 (Fixed)
Member: Rs. 75,500-annual increment 3% – 80,000
7. Rule 16 shall be substituted as under:
Age of Superannuation
A Member shall hold office as such for a term of 5 years from the date on which he enters upon his office, extendable by one more term of 5 years;
provided that no Member shall hold office as such after he has attained the age of sixty-five years.”
8. Rule 21 of the principal rules shall be substituted as under :
The posts of Judicial Member and Technical Member are exempted from the operation of the reservation orders.”
F.No. A.50050/22/2011-Ad.IC (CESTAT)
(M L Meena)
Joint Secretary
Note: – Principal Rules published vide GSR No. 168(E) dated 26.02.1987, published on 14.03.1987. Further amended vide GSR No. 707(E) dated 12.11.1993; GSR No. 360(E) dated 25.04.1995; GSR No. 259(E) dated 14.05.1997 and GSR No. 390 dated 29.10.2003.


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