SC seeks response of Centre on PIL alleging vacancies in industrial tribunals

The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought response of the Centre on a PIL seeking directions for filling up vacancies in the Central Government Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Courts (CGIT-cum-LCs).

A bench comprising Chief justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and Manoj Misra took note of the plea of Labour Law Association (LLA) that out of 22 tribunals, nine do not have presiding officers and vacancies are likely to arise in 2023 in three more tribunals.

The lawyer for the association said one of the presiding officers of a tribunal is set to demit office on Wednesday.

While issuing notice to the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the bench said,

“Why you have come to us so late. The Officer is retiring on July 5. List (the petition) on Monday. Serve (the copy of the petition) on Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Balbir Singh. We cannot pass an ex-parte order extending tenure of a judge.”

The CJI said that on the administrative side, he had perhaps nominated a Supreme Court judge to oversee the process of filling of vacancies in the tribunal.

There are 22 CGIT-cum-LCs in the country and they were set up under the provisions of Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 for adjudication of industrial disputes arising in the Central sphere.

The industrial tribunals have been set up with the objective of maintaining peace and harmony in the industrial sector by quick and timely disposal of industrial disputes through adjudication so that industrial growth does not suffer on account of any widespread industrial unrest, according to the official website.

After the amendment to the ID Act, 1947 and EPF & MP Act, 1952 through Finance Act, 2017, these CGITs are now also mandated to adjudicate appeals arising out of Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, the website says.

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