Supreme Court issues interim order with regard to appointments in Tribunals [Read order]
The Supreme Court headed by a bench comprising of Chief Justice Deepak Misra, Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud on Friday passed interim orders thereby accepting the suggestions made by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) Bar Association with regard to appointments to various tribunals. The Court has ordered that during the pendency, an interim search-cum-selection committee will be constituted in respect of both judicial/administrative members.
A string of writ petitions had been filed challenging sections 182, 183, 184 and 185 of the Finance Act of 2017 and the Rules framed under the said Section 184. It was alleged that these new Rules left the appointment, tenure and removal of the presiding officers and members of 18 tribunals at the behest of the executive and diluted the qualification criterion in respect thereof. Further it had been argued that the new Finance Act and the rules framed therein “took away the right of the judiciary to appoint the chairman and members of tribunals and commissions”
Thus some suggestions were made in this regard by the Senior Counsel Aryama Sundaram :
1. Staying the composition of Search-cum-Selection Committee as prescribed in Column 4 of the Schedule to the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and Other Authorities (Qualification, experience and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2017 both in respect of Chairman/Judicial Members and Administrative Members. A further direction to constitute an interim Search-cumSelection Committee during the pendency of this W.P. in respect of both Judicial/Administrative members as under:
• Chief Justice of India or his nominee – Chairman
• Chairman of the Central Administrative Tribunal – Member
• Two Secretaries nominated by the Government of India – Members
2. Appointment to the post of Chairman shall be made by nomination by the Chief Justice of India.
3. Stay the terms of office of 3 years as prescribed in Column 5 of the Schedule to the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualification, experience and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2017. A further direction fixing the term of office of all selectees by the aforementioned interim Search-cum-Selection Committee and consequent appointees as 5 years.
4. All appointments to be made in pursuance to the selection made by the interim Search-cum-Selection Committee shall be with conditions of service as applicable to the Judges of High Court.
5. A further direction to the effect that all the selections made by the aforementioned interim selection committee and the consequential appointment of all the selectees as Chairman/Judicial/Administrative members for a term of 5 years with conditions of service as applicable to Judges of High Court shall not be affected by the final outcome of the Writ Petition.
The bench however modified suggestions 4 and 5 to which Attorney General KK Venugopal submitted that he had no objection if the suggestions, barring suggestion nos.4 and 5, are presently followed as an interim measure.
Therefore suggestions 4 and 5 were recast as follows:
4. All appointments to be made in pursuance to the selection made by the interim Search-cum-Selection Committee shall abide by the conditions of service as per the old Acts and the Rules.
5. A further direction to the effect that all the selections made by the aforementioned interim selection committee and the consequential appointment of all the selectees as Chairman/Judicial/Administrative members shall be for a period as has been provided in the old Acts and the Rules.
Thus the Court accepted the suggestions and directed that the same shall be made applicable for selection of the Chairpersons and the Judicial/Administrative/Technical/Expert Members for all tribunals.
The matter has been listed for further hearing after 12 weeks.
Read the order below: