‘Testing our patience’: SC raps Centre over Tribunals Reforms Act

The bench also came down harshly on the Centre for passing Tribunals Reforms Act, which the Court termed a "virtual replica of the provisions struck down by the Court".

The Supreme Court on Monday rapped the government over the delay in filling up the vacancies in Tribunals, Live Law reported.
The bench also came down harshly on the Centre for passing Tribunals Reforms Act, which the Court termed a “virtual replica of the provisions struck down by the Court”.

Chief Justice NV Ramana said: “There is no respect to judgments of this court. You are testing our patience! How many persons were appointed? You said some persons were appointed?” The CJI said that the Court is “extremely upset” with the situation.

A special bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice L Nageswara Rao conveyed to the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta the extreme displeasure of the Court regarding the state of affairs of the Tribunals, Live Law further added. “We have only three options. One, we stay the legislation. Two, we close down the Tribunals and give the powers to the High Court. Three, we ourselves make the appointments”, the CJI added.

 

The court took note of the submissions of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, and adjourned the hearing on a batch of pleas pertaining to the vacancies at the tribunals and a new law related to them for further hearing on September 13 saying, “We hope the appointments will be made by then.”

“We don’t want confrontation with the government and we are happy with the way Supreme Court judges were appointed. These tribunals are collapsing with no members or chairperson,” the CJI said.

Mehta said the government does not want any confrontation either and sought time on the grounds that Attorney General K K Venugopal, who has been assisting the bench in these matters, has been facing some personal difficulties.

There are around 250 posts lying vacant at various key tribunals and appellate tribunals such as NCLT, DRT, TDSAT andT.

The top court also issued notices on several fresh pleas including the one filed by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh challenging the Constitutional validity of various provisions of the Tribunal Reforms Act, 2021, which was passed during the recent Monsoon Session of Parliament and received Presidential assent on August 13.

Ramesh said he has filed the petition in public interest assailing the proviso to Section 3(1) along with Sections 3(7), 5 and 7(1) of the Tribunal Reforms Act, 2021 as being ultra-vires Articles 14, 21 and 50 of the Constitution. The top court on August 16 had termed “serious” the passage of Bill on tribunals with the provisions, struck down earlier, without any debate in Parliament. The court had then granted 10 days to the Centre to make appointments to the tribunals.

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