Supreme Court pulls up Centre for ‘cherry-picking’ names for tribunal appointments

A special bench, comprising ustice of India NV Ramana, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice L Nageswara Rao, expressed their displeasure with the manner in which the Centre recently appointment officials to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT).

The Supreme Court Wednesday gave the centre a “final” time of two weeks to make appointments to the various Tribunals across the country even as it expressed displeasure on “cherry-picking” names from the list of those recommended for the various posts.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana expressed said it had seen the list of those appointed to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and remakred that it appeared thatt the members were cherry-picked and some kept on waiting. “We cannot ignore selected candidates and go to wait list. What type of selection and appointment is this?’ the bench also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao asked Attorney General K K Venugopal who appeared for the centre.

The CJI added that a similar thing had happenned in the case of appointments to the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) too.

“We are very much unhappy about how recommendations are being acted upon. We interviewed 530 candidates for judicial members and 400 plus for technical in NCLAT of which what is cleared is eight judicial members and same way technical members. We traveled across the country”.

The CJI added that “during COVID your government requested us to conduct interviews and we wasted so much time during COVID” he pointed out that five of those selected as judicial members are already 64 and have a tenure of 65 years. “So they get one year for service?”, asked the CJI.

The AG however said the tenure is till 67 years.

On some recommendations not being accepted, the AG said the SC had ruled earlier that the government can decide not to accept a recommendation. He clarified that no recommendations are currently pending with the government.

The bench sought to know what is the sanctity of the recommendations then.

“There is too much inconsistency. This is not done”, said the AG.

Venuhopal said the government is ready to reconsider the non-acceptance list except those candidates who have corruption charges against them.

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