The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended the tenure of the Chairperson of Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), Justice Shiva Kirti Singh, by three more months.
The term of Justice Singh (former SC judge) as TDSAT Chairperson was set to expire on April 20. He had assumed the office on April 21, 2017.
The SC is hearing a matter pertaining to the plea of increasing the tenure of Chairperson of TDSAT. The tenure of the current Chairman is to expire on April 20, 2020.— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) April 7, 2020
The SC is hearing a matter pertaining to the plea of increasing the tenure of Chairperson of TDSAT. The tenure of the current Chairman is to expire on April 20, 2020.
A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices Sanjay K. Kaul & Deepak Gupta further directed the Centre to expedite the appointment process of for TDSAT members as administrative member retired in October 2018 while technical Member retired in 2019.
Senior Advocate Vikas Singh apprised the bench of the inadequacies surrounding appointments.
"It's been a real challenge to get documents from central agency. It's for Attorney General to put in place more efficient system" stated Singh.
In light of this, the bench observed that there has been no judicial or technical member appointed since last year.
The bench noted,
"How can the TDSAT work without sitting members? Tribunals are alternatives to judicial system. How can the tribunal function?
The instant case pertained to an intervention application filed in a writ petition wherein the top court had stayed the retirements of two judicial members of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), Justice Mohammad Tahir of the Chandigarh bench and Justice Sunita Gupta of the principal bench at Delhi last year. This was done as their retirement would have left the AFT with only one judicial member in chair out of a total 17 positions.
A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court had struck down in November 2019 the new tribunal rules promulgated by the government in 2017.
The supreme court had also ruled that members must be provided longer tenures to ensure stability and that tribunals must not be made dependant upon ministries against which they have to pass orders.
Click here to download order