The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to make tribunal appointments within two weeks, which are facing a severe crunch of presiding officers as well as judicial and technical members, and inform the court of reasons if persons from the recommended list are left out in the process.
There are around 250 posts lying vacant in various important tribunals and appellate tribunals.
A bench comprising of Chief Justice NV Ramana, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice L Nageshwar Rao expressed unhappiness over the unfilled vacancies in the quasi-judicial bodies across the nation. The bench said that the condition is “pitiable” and the litigants cannot be “left in the lurch”.
Last week, the apex court gave one-week ultimatum to the government to fill those vacancies. Chief Justice NV Ramana had said “we feel the government has no respect for this court” and warned “you (the government) are testing our patience”.
The Chief Justice said, “We travelled throughout the country to conduct interviews. We wasted our time? We travelled in the midst of Covid because the government requested us to carry out the interviews.”
“I have seen the NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal) appointments… more recommendations were made. But in appointments, cherry-picking was done. What kind of selection is this? And the same thing (has been) done with (the) ITAT (Income Tax Appellate Tribunal) members also. We are very unhappy with how the decisions are being taken,” the Chief Justice said.
“I am also part of the NCLT Selection Committee. We interviewed 544 people… out of which we gave the names of 11 judicial members and 10 technical members. From all of these recommendations, only some of them were appointed by the government… rest of the names went to the wait list,” the CJI added.
Attorney General KK Venugopal assured the bench that the Centre would make appointments in two weeks in the tribunals from the list of persons recommended by the search and selection committee.
The top court was hearing a bunch of petitions on the issue of vacancies in tribunals and the new law governing quasi-judicial bodies.
(With PTI Inputs)