File status report on vacancies in tribunals, SC tells Centre

Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India, File Photo

New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to file within two weeks a status report on vacant posts of Chairpersons and Members in various tribunals across the country and the stages of the selection processes to fill them.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud also clarified that Members of the Armed Forces Tribunal shall hold office till the age of 65.

Tribunal Chairpersons who have been former Supreme Court Judges shall hold their present office till the age of 70, the bench said, adding that old rules will continue to apply in case of the Central Administrative Tribunal.

Members of the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal shall be in office till the age of 62 while its President shall continue till the age of 65, the bench said.

The court’s order came on a batch of pleas challenging the Finance Act and the Tribunal, Appellate and other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and Other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules 2017, which dealt with appointment, tenure and other service conditions of Chairs/Members of such panels.

The appointments in various tribunals were stalled due to the pendency in the top court of the petitions, which had alleged that the newly amended Finance Act had changed the processes related to search, selection and removal of Members and presiding officers of the tribunals.

The pleas were filed by the National Green Tribunal Bar Association, Employees Provident Fund Tribunal Bar Association and one Kudrat Sandhu, who had also sought an interim stay on the new Act and the Rules, under which a new Search-cum-Selection Committee for the post of Administrative Member would be set up.

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