The Central government’s plans to have a National Tax Tribunal to adjudicate on complicated questions of tax law will have to wait, with the Supreme Court striking down a 2005 Act that provided for the creation of such a body to take some of the load off the over-stretched high courts. The constitution bench said though Parliament was well within its powers to transfer adjudicatory functions, earlier vested in the high courts, to an alternative court or tribunal, in this case the proposed tribunal. “Exercise of such power by the Parliament would not per se violate the structure of the Constitution.” “The basic structure of the Constitution will stand violated, if while enacting legislation pertaining to transfer of judicial power, Parliament does not ensure, that the newly-created court or tribunal, conforms with the salient characteristics and standards of the court sought to be substituted.”
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