After identifying vacancies at the level of chairman, members, administrative, and working employees in the Adjudicating Authority, single-judge Justice Prathiba Singh issued the ruling.
Under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA), the Delhi High Court has ordered the Central government to fill vacancies in the Adjudicating Authority, including members, administrative employees, and working staff [M/S Hamilton Housewares Pvt. Ltd v Directorate of Enforcement].
After identifying vacancies in the Adjudicating Authority at the level of chairman, members, as well as administrative and working employees, single-judge Justice Prathiba Singh issued the ruling.
The proposal to issue vacancy circulars for the positions of Member (Administration) and Member (Law) is said to be under discussion. “Because these positions have been vacant for a significant period of time, the Government is directed to take steps to fill them within three months,” the Court stated.
Regarding the role of chairperson, the Court stated that the process of selecting a chairperson is now ongoing and is expected to be completed soon.
In the case of the administrative officer and registrar, the Court noted that despite the vacancy circulars being issued, appointments had not taken place due to the Union Public Service Commission’s (UPSC) recommendations and the lack of a sufficient number of applications. The same was true of court masters, stenographers, and other court personnel.
The Court directed that if these vacancies cannot be filled through new recruiting, the Ministry take steps to fill all of them through alternate ways within one month.
The order was made after the Central government’s affidavits were examined.
The affidavits indicated a severe staffing shortfall, as well as openings at the chairperson, Member (Administration), and Member (Finance) levels (Law).
The administrative officer, registrar, and court master roles were also empty, according to the Court.
While ordering that vacancies be filled, the Court also stated that filling vacancies as they are now is insufficient and that the Adjudicating Authority’s staffs need to be increased in order for the authority to function effectively.
The Centre was thus asked to consider the number of cases before the Adjudicating Authority, whether the staff strength has to be raised, and, if so, the vacancy circulars that would be issued after a decision on the increase in staff strength have been reached.