The Customs Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) officially known as Customs, Excise & Gold (Control) Appellate Tribunal was constituted on 11 the October 1982. The Appellate Tribunal was constituted in Article 323(B) of the Constitution of India by creating provisions in the Customs Act 1962. The Tribunal was constituted for expeditious disposal of appeals which were earlier handled by Central Board of Excise and Customs and which bring up to Government in revision.
CESTAT’s headquarter is at New Delhi and is led by the President. The Tribunal is having regional branches at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Chandigarh and Hyderabad.
CESTAT was set up to give an independent forum to hear the appeals against orders passed by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise and Service Tax under the Customs Act, 1962, Central Excise Act, 1944 and Finance Act 1994.
The Tribunal is also empowered to listen to the appeals against orders passed by the Designated Authority in Anti Dumping Duties under the Customs Tariff Act,1975. The Tribunal also hears appeals relating Customs House Agent Licensing. every Bench of the Tribunal consists of a Judicial Member and a Technical Member. Issues not relating to valuation/classification up to Rs. 50 Lakhs revenue are heard by Single Member Bench.
Except in the issues concerning to classification and valuation of goods, the Tribunal is the final Appellate Authority as far as the question of facts is concerned. In classification and valuation matters, the appeal not in favor of orders of the Tribunal lies only to the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The Tribunal may, in its discretion, refuse to admit an appeal in respect of an order where the amount of fine or penalty determined by such order, should not be more than Two Lakhs rupees. The CESTAT acts like a bull whack in dispensing justice in the areas of indirect tax litigation.
CESTAT functions with the following limitations as it CAN NOT –
- Provide compensation owing to the unlawful action of revenue authorities.
- Refresh its own order as any quasi-judicial authority cannot review its own order.
- exercise powers out of the limit of the statute as it is a creature of statute only.
- comment on the legitimacy of the statute and has to presume the legal validity of the provisions of Act and Rules.
- punish for its own contempt but has to forward it to the high court for its consideration.
- act as a court as it is a tribunal and cannot be equated to a court. Members of the tribunal are not judges and their decisions are orders, not judgments.
- overrule any high court judgment and are bound by judgments of high courts and Supreme Court.