“Testing Our Patience”: Supreme Court To Centre over vacancy in tribunals

Story Highlights
  • Supreme Court ultimatum to center over Tribunals
  • The court issued a notice to the government
  • Further hearing will be on September 13

The Supreme Court on Monday bashed the government over a large number of vacancies in tribunals, across the country. “We feel the government has no respect for this court,” Chief Justice NV Ramana complained and warned “you are testing our patience.” A notice has been issued by the court to the government, to make the necessary appointments within a week. The court said, further hearings on this matter will be on September 13.   

The Chief Justice said, “We are upset… but we don’t want confrontation with the government.”  Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, replied to this: “Government doesn’t want confrontation either”. However, yesterday, when the Chief Justice was with Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, spoke about the government quickly approving Supreme Court judges – pressed on and asked:”… but why are tribunal vacancies not being filled?” The court said, “vacancies in critical tribunals like NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal) and NCLAT (National Company Law Appellate Tribunal)… they are important for the economy. Vacancies also in armed forces and consumer tribunals are leading to delays in resolution of cases.” 

The Solicitor General saying that, in two months, the Finance Ministry had said a decision on appointments would be taken is related to the court’s irritation. Over the Tribunal Reforms Act The court expressed discontentment and referred to a “pattern”. “We strike down one act and a new one comes… has become a pattern.” The court stressed, “We can’t give credence to new legislations, when earlier instructions of this court are not being paid heed to… We hope you are not the one telling the government to make legislation one after the other… Maybe bureaucrats do that… but we are very upset.”

The Chief Justice gave three options to Mr. Mehta. He said, “One – staying the Tribunal Reforms Act… and going ahead with appointments. Second – we close down tribunals. Third – we make appointments for tribunal positions ourselves.” Chief Justice Ramana warned, “Another option is we initiate contempt proceedings against you (the government).” Chief Justice Ramana, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Rao, have issued today’s notice on a plea by Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh.

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