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Centre Clears Appointments To Tribunals After Supreme Court’s Ultimatum

Centre Clears Appointments To Tribunals After Supreme Court's Ultimatum

The Centre has approved the proposal for the appointment of 18 members to NCLT. (File)

New Delhi:

Five days after the Supreme Court expressed its displeasure over the way the Centre had enacted the Tribunals Reforms Act, by reducing the terms of members and chairmen of Tribunals on Saturday, the Centre cleared the appointment of the judicial and technical members to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT).

The Supreme Court had, on September 6, expressed dissatisfaction over the way the Centre has not appointed the Tribunal members and slammed it.

“You (the Central government) are testing the patience of Court; no respect for our judgments,” a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana and comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and DY Chandrachud, had rapped the Centre over Tribunals Reforms Act and not appointing members and chairmen in tribunals.

The Centre on Saturday cleared the appointment of judicial and technical members to the NCLT and the ITAT.

It has approved the proposal for the appointment of 18 members to the NCLT – eight judicial members and 10 technical members.

The eight judicial members are Justice Telaprolu Rajani (Judge, Andhra Pradesh High Court), Justice Pradeep Narhari Deshmukh (Former Bombay High Court judge), Justice S Ramathilagam (Former Madras High Court judge), Dharminder Singh (Presiding Officer, DRT-3 (Delhi), Harnam Singh Thakur (Retired Registrar General, Punjab and Haryana High Court), P Mohan Raj (Retired District Judge, Salem, Tamil Nadu), Rohit Kapoor (Advocate) and Deep Chandra Joshi (District Judge).

The Centre has said that these appointments are for a period of five years or till these members attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. It also appointed 13 new judicial members in the ITAT — six judicial members and seven accountant members.

Four judicial members have been cleared from the unreserved category, one from the Other Backward Class (OBC) category and one from the Scheduled Caste (SC) category.

Five of the accountant members are from an unreserved category, one from the OBC category and one from the Supreme Court category.

These appointments are for a period of four years or till these members attain the age of 67 years, whichever is earlier.

The judicial members are Sonjoy Sharma (Advocate), S Seethalakshmi, (advocate), Shatin Goyal (Additional District and Sessions Judge), Anubhav Sharma (Additional District and Sessions Judge), TR Senthil Kumar (Advocate) and Manomohan Das (Law officer in SBI).

The Supreme Court was hearing the plea on September 6 filed by Congress leader and MP Jairam Ramesh and others challenging the constitutional validity of various provisions of the Tribunal Reforms Act, 2021.

“There is no respect for the judgments of this Court. It is unfortunate. Last time you (the Solicitor General) have said that you have appointed some members in the tribunals. How many you have appointed,” the CJI had asked Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta.

The top court had then said the recommendations were made keeping all parameters in mind. It had also warned that it may initiate contempt of court proceedings against the Centre if the appointments were not made within a week.

The Supreme Court had said that the “Centre has no respect for judgments of the highest court.”

The top court also had warned of contempt action if the Centre continues “dilly dallying” on the appointment of tribunals’ chairpersons and members.


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