The Supreme Court today slammed the Centre for not following its instructions and gave the government 10 days to make appointments in the tribunals. Notably, the court had sought a reply from the Centre within 10 days on August 5 asking it to apprise the court about the steps taken to fill the vacancies. The apex court had also suspected the role of some lobbies behind the delay. The top court had termed non-filling of vacancies at various tribunals a ‘sorry state of affairs’.
The Supreme Court also pulled up the Centre for not providing the reasons for introducing the Tribunal Reforms Bill 2021 in Parliament even after the Ordinance was struck down by the top court. Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said that no debate was held in Parliament. “It’s the Legislature prerogative to make laws, but we must know the reasons for making this law, the reasons for making this legislation?” he asked.
The CJI also asked the Centre to make it clear whether tribunals have to be continued or be closed.
Notably, the Tribunals Reforms Bill, 2021 was passed in the Lok Sabha on August 3 and in the Rajya Sabha on August 9. The Bill has provisions relating to the term, age criteria, and search and selection committee for making appointments to the tribunals. The court today asked the government why the bill was introduced with the provisions invalidated by the court. The bill did not go well with the SC as many of its provisions are similar to that of the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance 2021 which was quashed by the top court.
Replying to the court’s queries, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that the Bill has attained the status of an Act and it may not be proper on his part to respond.
The Supreme Court had said on August 5 that many posts are vacant in AFT, NGT and Railways Claim Tribunal while the Centre has not taken any step to fill these vacancies.