Supreme Court refuses to stay new Finance Act

By: | Published: September 4, 2017 8:37 PM

The Supreme Court today refused to grant interim stay on the newly-amended Finance Act which provides that the search-cum-selection committee to select administrative members of the CAT will be headed by a nominee of the central government.

Finance Act, Finance Act india, india Finance Act, Finance Act amendment, amndments in Finance Act, supreme court on Finance Act, sc on Finance ActEarlier, CJI or his nominee had a role in the selection of administrative members of CAT, the tribunal had told the court. (PTI)

The Supreme Court today refused to grant interim stay on the newly-amended Finance Act which provides that the search-cum-selection committee to select administrative members of the CAT will be headed by a nominee of the central government. A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud asked the counsel for the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) to supply a copy of its plea to the Centre and said it cannot stay the impugned provisions of the Act without hearing the other side.

The CAT, represented by senior advocate C A Sundaram, has challenged the constitutional validity of certain provisions of the ‘Tribunals, Appellate Tribunals and Other Authorities (qualifications, experience and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2017’.

Sundaram said the power of the judiciary in selection and appointment of administrative members of CAT has been taken away by the new law and the government should be asked not to fill up vacancies for the time being. The court posted the matter for hearing on September 25.

The CAT said the ‘Tribunals, Appellate Tribunals and Other Authorities (qualifications, experience and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2017’, framed under the Finance Act, provides that the search-cum-selection committee to select its administrative members will be headed by a nominee of the central government.

Earlier, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) or his nominee had a role in the selection of administrative members of CAT, the tribunal had told the court. The panel had also sought an interim stay on the provisions of the new Act and the Rules, under which a new Search-cum-Selection Committee for the post of Administrative Member would be set up.

However, on the issue of selection of CAT’s chairperson and judicial members, the 2017 Rules provide that this committee would be headed by the CJI or his nominee.

The Finance Act, which came into effect from April 1, led to the framing of the 2017 Rules which allegedly gave “unbridled” powers to the Executive to decide on the qualification of the members, their appointment and removal among other issues, one of the petitions filed by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said.

The apex court had earlier issued notice to the Centre on two other similar pleas filed by Ramesh and an NGO Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE).

The NGO had sought the quashing of Part 14 of the Finance Act and Rules framed under it. It alleged that the alterations brought about by the Finance Act would weaken the functioning of tribunals including the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and curtail their powers.

Senior advocate Mohan Parasaran, who had appeared for Ramesh, had submitted that the power of judiciary has been compromised by the provisions of the new law.

The petition has said the changes brought about by the Act would weaken the functioning of tribunals including the NGT and curtail their powers.

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