Bombay High Court Raps Maha Govt For Delay In Creating Official Website For State Sales Tax Tribunal

Bombay High Court Raps Maha Govt For Delay In Creating Official Website For State Sales Tax Tribunal

The bench also asked the state to make the official website of Maharashtra Sales Tax Tribunal (MSTT) functional by December 31

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Friday, November 17, 2023, 05:52 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | File

Rapping the Maharashtra government for its lackadaisical attitude in creating an official website for the state sales tax tribunal, the Bombay High Court has said that tribunals in a progressive state like Maharashtra cannot remain primitive in embracing technology. 

In embracing technology, the tribunals in a progressive state like Maharashtra cannot remain primitive. Providing a website would certainly enhance the efficiency in the working of the tribunal and make effective access to justice,” said a division bench of Justices Girish Kulkarni and Jitendra Jain on October 12. The order was made available recently.

Court asks govt to make the website functional by Dec 31

The bench also asked the state to make the official website of Maharashtra Sales Tax Tribunal (MSTT) functional by December 31. 

The judges also cited the observations of the Supreme Court that technology plays an essential role in securing access to courtrooms and as a result, access to justice for citizens across the country.

“In the present era, the courts and tribunals, which cater to the demands of the consumers of justice, cannot be expected to function without the basic requirement of an official website, to say the least,” the HC added. 

In a detailed order, the HC noted that they were informed way back in June this year that the National Informatics Centre (NIC) had agreed to develop the tribunal's website. 

NIC, under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is the technology partner of the Government of India. It was established in the year 1976 with the objective to provide technology-driven solutions to Central and State Governments

The HC had then directed the finance department to consider the issue of budgetary approval and had sought compliance by August. The tribunal’s president, in October, informed the HC that the government and the tribunal were taking steps to develop the website. 

However, the bench remarked that steps need to be taken expeditiously so that the website commences on or before December 31. 

Nothing so “herculean or impossible” in creation of a website: Court

When the state advocate submitted that NIC is likely to take longer time, the bench said that there is nothing so “herculean and/or impossible” in creation of a website and that too with the “expertise and experience” of the NIC has in dealing/creating of several websites of different courts, including of the High Courts in the country. 

Also, it is of utmost necessity that the tribunal’s president forward a proposal to the state government to make video-conferencing facilities available, as several other tribunals already have the same, the court added.

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