What is the status of vacancies in various Tribunals across the country? asks Supreme Court

On Monday, the Supreme Court directed the Centre to provide information latest by Thursday regarding vacancies across tribunals and stages where the appointments are held up.

These observations were made after the Hon’ble Court expressed its displeasure over inaction while filling vacancies at National Green Tribunal despite approval from the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

A Division Bench comprising Hon’ble Justice AN Khanwilkar and Hon’ble Justice Dinesh Maheshwari stated that they need concrete data on names that were cleared by the search-cum-selection committee for not only NGT but for other Tribunals as well.

NGT Bar Association had submitted that even though the NGT Act mandates that the Tribunal should not have less than 10 members, there are vacancies.

Advocate Raj Panjwani who appeared for the NGT Bar stated that there were only five members(two experts and three judicial) besides the Chairperson, which has led to more than 2500 cases.

The Apex Court suggested a change in the search cum selection committee’s composition that will recommend names for appointment. This suggestion was made when the Bench considered the validity of rules for filling up vacancies in all Tribunals of the country. The Bench opined that if the Committee makes recommendations as per 2020 Rules, then appointments should be made within three months.

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In January, the Centre informed the court that they had cleared seven names for appointments to conform to the November judgement. The names were cleared by the search cum selection committee in December.

ASG N Venkatraman submitted that he needed three weeks to compile data regarding vacancies in Tribunals.

However, the Court remarked that the Centre has to sort out the matter and post the matter on Thursday.

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