SC accepts interim mechanism for appointments across tribunals


New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday accepted the suggestions put before it to govern the selection and appointments process for tribunals across the country until a challenge pending before it is decided.

On suggestions submitted by the Central Administration Tribunal (CAT), the court said that for now appointment of the chairperson of the tribunal would be made by the Chief Justice or his nominee.

This effectively stays the old rules of appointments of judicial and other members of tribunals from being practised for now.

Appointment of other members of the tribunal would be made by a three-member panel comprising two secretaries of the government and the chairperson of the concerned tribunal.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had in January asked Attorney General K.K. Venugopal representing the centre and other lawyers in the matter to come up with an interim arrangement dealing with appointments in tribunals until the issue is adjudicated upon by the court.

The court was hearing a batch of cases challenging the constitutional validity of the amended draft rules under the Finance Act, 2017, which would govern the procedure of appointment, removal and service conditions of the chairperson and other members of as many as 19 tribunal across the country.

Several petitioners, including Member of Parliament from Rajya Sabha Jairam Ramesh, moved the apex court challenging the constitutional validity of the Finance Act, 2017 and the rules under it, claiming that if they were adopted, it would destroy the independent functioning of tribunals. The new rules would give primacy to the executive in deciding matters of appointments, constitution, removal of members across tribunals, it was added.

The petitioners have also alleged that the new rules would undermine judicial independence and impinge upon the principle of separation of powers.livemint