Individuals and firms from across the nation have started approaching the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) seeking stay on the action initiated by the Income Tax (I-T) department for depositing over Rs 2.5 lakh in cash in their bank accounts in banned higher denomination notes following the demonetisation announcement last year. This will potentially result in the number of such cases before the ITAT going up and may affect the tribunal’s performance. “Following the demonetisation announcement, stringent action by the I-T department would translate into more appeals to the ITAT. If the tribunal is not adequately equipped, this potential surge of cases may affect its performance. This is troublesome, as an independent appeals mechanism is necessary to ensure speedy justice,” G.D. Agrawal, vice president of ITAT, said. According to ITAT data, around 2,00,000 cases were filed between January 2013 to March 2016 across the country, out of which only 28,000 rulings have come till December 2016. Also, the tribunal’s statistics on workload and functioning revealed that the ITAT has on an average 900 cases pending per member. Cases filed before busy ITAT benches like Mumbai and Delhi might take 35-50 months to reach a final verdict.