The government on Tuesday introduced a Bill to amend the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) Act and replace the current Ordinance to widen the norms for selection of the presiding officer of the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT).
Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena tabled the Sebi (Amendment) Bill 2013 in the Rajya Sabha, which seeks to replace the existing Ordinance promulgated on January 21 this year.
The move comes after the government found it difficult to appoint the presiding officer for SAT. The post has been lying vacant since November 2011 when the last presiding officer Justice NK Sodhi retired.
As per the statement of objects and reasons of the amendment Bill, the eligibility criteria for selection of a person for the post of presiding officer has been enlarged through an Ordinance as there was urgent need to fill up the vacant post.
The Ordinance relaxed the eligibility criteria to include those persons who are a sitting or retired judge of a High Court with a minimum seven years of service as a judge of a High Court.
The current eligibility criteria for the presiding officer of the SAT is similar to those for the chairperson of the Competition Appellate Tribunal, which hears appeals against decisions of the competition regulator.
At present, only a sitting or retired Judge of the Supreme Court or a sitting or retired Chief Justice of a High Court can be appointed to the post.
The absence of a presiding officer has been hampering the functioning of the SAT, which is important for smooth functioning of capital markets, the statement said.
The Securities Appellate Tribunal is a statutory body, which hears appeals against orders passed by Sebi. SAT is required to have a presiding officer and two other members, to be appointed by the Central government. A SAT member’s tenure is of five years and he or she is eligible for re-appointment, subject to a maximum age of 62 years.
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