The validity of the ‘Tribunals, Appellate Tribunals and Other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience And Other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2017‘ has been challenged in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is required to examine whether the Rules, which seek to appoint the Members of the Tribunal for a limited period, and which make the appointment and removal of the Members the sole prerogative of the Government, is valid in law
The following interim order has been passed by the Supreme Court:
We have heard learned counsel for the petitioners and Mr. K.K. Venugopal, learned Attorney General for India.
In the course of hearing, suggestions for an interim order in respect of Central Administrative Tribunal have been filed. The suggestions read as follows:
“1. Staying the composition of Search-cum-Selection Committee as prescribed in Column 4 of the Schedule to the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and Other Authorities (Qualification, experience and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2017 both in respect of Chairman/Judicial Members and Administrative Members. A further direction to constitute an interim Search-cum- Selection Committee during the pendency of this W.P. in respect of both Judicial/Administrative members as under:
a. Chief Justice of India or his nominee – Chairman b. Chairman of the Central Administrative Tribunal – Member c. Two Secretaries nominated by the Government of India – Members
2. Appointment to the post of Chairman shall be made by nomination by the Chief Justice of India.
3. Stay the terms of office of 3 years as prescribed in Column 5 of the Schedule to the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualification, experience and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2017. A further direction fixing the term of office of all selectees by the aforementioned interim Search-cum- Selection Committee and consequent appointees as 5 years.
4. All appointments to be made in pursuance to the selection made by the interim Search-cum-Selection Committee shall be with conditions of service as applicable to the Judges of High Court.
5. A further direction to the effect that all the selections made by the aforementioned interim selection committee and the consequential appointment of all the selectees as Chairman/Judicial/Administrative members for a term of 5 years with conditions of service as applicable to Judges of High Court shall not be affected by the final outcome of the Writ Petition.”
Mr. Venugopal, learned Attorney General has submitted that he has no objection if the suggestions, barring suggestion nos.4 and 5, are presently followed as an interim measure. On a query being made whether the said suggestions shall be made applicable to all tribunals, learned Attorney General answered in the affirmative.
He would, however, suggest that suggestions nos.4 and 5 should be recast as follows:
“4. All appointments to be made in pursuance to the selection made by the interim Search-cum-Selection Committee shall abide by the conditions of service as per the old Acts and the Rules.
5. A further direction to the effect that all the selections made by the aforementioned interim selection committee and the consequential appointment of all the selectees as Chairman/Judicial/Administrative members shall be for a period as has been provided in the old Acts and the Rules.
In view of the aforesaid, we accept the suggestions and direct that the same shall be made applicable for selection of the Chairpersons and the Judicial/Administrative/Technical/Expert Members for all tribunals.
List after twelve weeks along with W.P.(C)Nos.120 of 2012; 267 of 2012.