SC for as few tribunals as possible

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Wednesday said the numerous tribunals, once meant to lighten the burden of high courts across the country, have now become virtually non-functional, crippled by a chronic lack of infrastructure, manpower and an irregular appointment mechanism.

Heading a Constitution Bench, Chief Justice Gogoi said a “practical solution” would be to have “as few tribunals as possible.”

The Bench is hearing a batch of petitions, led by the Madras Bar Association, challenging the amendments in the Finance Act, 2017 which have modified the terms of appointment and functioning in various key statutory tribunals, including the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The petitioners allege that the amendments amount to dilution of judicial independence and a threat to the Constitution.

But the court pointed to how the tribunals are themselves fading into obscurity. Chief Justice Gogoi said the National Company Law Tribunal wants branches all over the country. The selection committee recommends names for appointment as members, but there is hardly any appointment done.

The CJI said, in the past, the selection committee to NCLT and the NCLAT headed by him had recommended over 20 names, but only three or four were appointed.

“There is no reason assigned for turning down recommendations of the selection committee,” the Chief Justice observed.

The CJI said the Centre should make it clear whether it wanted the tribunals to continue or not.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 1:37:49 PM |

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