SC Takes Note Of Status Of Selection Of Members To Various Tribunals, Says Its Interim Order Not To Come In Way Where Substantial Steps Have Been Taken Already [Read Order]

Almost two weeks after issuing interim directions for appointment to various tribunals and putting in place an interim Search-cum-selection Committee, the Supreme Court on Thursday took note of the status of the selection process for various members of all Tribunals and ordered that in cases where substantial steps have been taken in respect of selection process, the same would not be affected by its interim order of February 9.

The court said: “In all cases where the Chief Justice of India has nominated the Chairperson of the Search-cum-Selection Committee (SCSC) for making recommendations for appointment of Chairperson/President/Presiding Officer of any tribunal and the Committee has begun its work by holding a meeting, the process will continue according to the terms and conditions and eligibility stated in the advertisement so issued or, as notified on the directions of the SCSC for ascertaining expression of interest”.

A bench of CJI Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud also ordered, “All recommendations made or to be made by any SCSC for the appointment of Chairperson and/or members shall be processed further without being affected by the order dated 9 February 2018.”

It is to be noted that the bench had on February 9 formed an interim SCSC in respect of both judicial and administrative members of all tribunals with CJI or his nominee as the chairman and directing appointment to post of chairman only by nomination by the CJI, fixing the term of office as five years from earlier three years etc.

On Thursday, the apex court took note of a tabular chart placed before it by the Attorney General indicating the status of the selection process in respect of 19 tribunals.

The tabular chart submitted by the Attorney General indicated the status of the constitution of the SCSC, whether advertisements have been issued for judicial and/or technical (or expert) members; whether applications have been received and if process of shortlisting, interview has been completed or any appointments made in any of the 19 tribunals.

Meanwhile, senior advocate Vikas Singh also filed written submissions indicating that substantial steps have taken place in the selection process for the Central Administrative Tribunal and it is desirable that appointments be made expeditiously.

The bench then proceeded to pass following directions with regard to various Tribunals keeping in mind the status as presented in the chart filed by the Attorney General.

CESTAT 

In respect of the Central Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT), the chart showed that applications were received for judicial and technical members pursuant to advertisements issued under the directions of the SCSC. Interviews have been conducted and the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the proposal for filling up vacant posts of judicial members.

“The above position indicates that the process of selection has been substantially completed. Hence, we clarify that the selection process in respect of the CESTAT may be completed and will not be affected by the order of this Court dated 9 February 2018”, the bench said.

Debt Recovery Tribunals

The chart submitted by the Attorney General indicated that the selection process has been completed and appointments of Presiding officers have been made.

“This being the position, the selection process in respect of the DRT shall not be affected,” the bench said on Thursday.

 CAT

In respect of the Central Administrative Tribunal, the chart submitted by Attorney General showed that after the constitution of the SCSC, vacancies were advertised and applications have been received both for judicial and administrative members. Two meetings have been held by the SCSC for judicial members; shortlisting criteria were finalised and 67 candidates have been shortlisted.

“In the above situation, the selection process for judicial members of CAT shall proceed unhindered by the previous directions dated 9 February 2018 and shall be taken to its logical conclusion.

“Since no substantial steps have taken place in regard to the appointments of Administrative members of CAT, the directions contained in the order dated 9 February 2018 shall apply,” it ordered.

NCDRC

The bench was apprised that applications received for the post of President have been sent to the Chief Justice of India.

For judicial and non-judicial members of NCDRC, the SCSC has shortlisted candidates. Recommendations have been made by the SCSC and the selection process has been substantially completed.

“It may proceed to its logical conclusion without being affected by the directions dated 9 February 2018. However, it is made clear that the appointment of President of NCDRC is to be made by a nomination of the CJI”. 

The bench also took note of the status in respect of Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT),  Railways Claim Tribunal,  Film Certification Appellate Tribunal etc and ordered that, “in all cases where the CJI has nominated the Chairperson of the SCSC for making recommendations for appointment of Chairperson/President/Presiding Officer of any tribunal and the Committee has begun its work by holding a meeting, the process will continue on the basis of the terms and conditions and eligibility stated in the advertisement issued or, as the case may be, as notified on the directions of the SCSC for ascertaining expression of interest”.

Read the Order Here