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SC Asks Two CERC Members To Go On Leave Until Appointment Of A Law Member [Read Order]

29 Aug 2020 6:18 AM GMT
SC Asks Two CERC Members To Go On Leave Until Appointment Of A Law Member [Read Order]
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The Supreme Court on Friday asked two members of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission to go on leave until a Member law is appointed to the Commission.

The order was passed by a bench comprising Justices SK Kaul, Ajay Rastogi and Aniruddha Bose in a contempt petition filed by KK Agarwal through Adv.Ravi Sharma, against non-appointment of a law member to the Commission.

The plea was moved seeking enforcement of a 2018 verdict of the Supreme Court, holding that it is mandatory that there should be a person of law as a Member of the Commission, which requires a person, who is, or has been holding a judicial office or is a person possessing professional qualifications with substantial experience in the practice of law, who has the requisite qualifications to have been appointed as a Judge of the High Court or a District Judge.

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As per the Commission's website, it is presently comprised of Mr. PK Pujari, Chairperson and two members— Mr. Indu Shekhar Jha and Mr. Arun Goyal (both of whom were appointed after the 2018 verdict)

The three-Judge bench noted that the appointments of any Member after the 2018 judgment could not have taken place without first appointing a Member from law. It observed,

"any Member who has been appointed after our judgment, should not be permitted to function as that would be permitting functioning contrary to the judgment of this Court requiring a person from law to be appointed first."

At this juncture, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the Court that the process for appointing a person of law is expected to be concluded during the month of September, 2020. He also submitted that the two members who were appointed after the 2018 verdict shall be asked to proceed on leave till such time as the person from law is appointed.

"We take the statement on record," the Bench said while posting the matter to September 25.

It added,

"We make it clear that if the person of law is so appointed within this period of time, the persons who would go on leave would be permitted to re-join."

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