Supreme Court expresses displeasure at Centre's approach
Failure to fill up vacancies in tribunals upsets a Bench of Justices
The Centre's approach towards not filling up vacancies and passing laws contrary to the apex court's judgments has irked Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice MM Sundresh.
A bench comprising Justices Kaul and Sundresh said that it was unfortunate that the Supreme Court was being called upon to examine and fill up vacancies in tribunals. "If the government does not want the tribunals then abolish the Act!" the Bench remarked.
The top court was hearing a suo motu case regarding vacancies in District and State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions (SCDRC).
In August, it had directed that SCDRC fill up the vacancies within a period of eight weeks.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana has been frequently pulling up the government for its lackadaisical approach towards tribunals.
Contributing to the friction is the Tribunal Reforms Act, 2021 passed by the parliament, which laid down the tenures and other service conditions of tribunal members. Several of the provisions of the Act ran contrary to the mandate of the Supreme Court judgment.
The SC ruled that the Act prescribing tenure of four years for members was contrary to the principles of separation of powers, independence of the judiciary and the rule of law of the Constitution of India.
In 2020, the Supreme Court in its judgment had ordered that the term of office of the Chairperson and tribunal members should be five years. The Court had also directed at other modifications to the rules.
In order to get over the same, the government again introduced the 2021 Ordinance, which kept the tenure at four years.
The SC in the July 2021 judgment once again struck down the move.