With a majority judgement of 2:1, the Hon’ble Supreme Court earlier this week on 14th July 2021, Wednesday struck down the provisions of the Tribunal Reforms (Rationalization and Conditions Of Service) Ordinance 2021 after finding the provisions to be contrary to its earlier precedent.
In a three-member Bench, the majority consisting of Justices L. Nageshwara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat has held that the provisions were contrary to directions issued by the Hon’ble Court while Justice Hemanth Gupta expressed a different view on the issue. In the previous judgment it was held that the term of the Tribunal members should be of 5 years so that Tribunals work independently from executive’s interference.
The instant Writ petition was filed by the Madras Bar Association challenging the Tribunals Reforms Ordinance, 2021 Which tends to amend sections 184 and 186 of the Finance Act, 2017. These sections deal with the rule-making power of the central government concerning the mode of appointment and the related matters of members of various Tribunals.
The Tribunals Reforms rules formulated by the centre were found to have several lacunae by the Hon’ble Supreme Court on two various occasions. In 2019, the Tribunals Reforms rules of 2017 were abrogated by the Hon’ble Supreme Court on the ground that they affected judicial independence in Rojer Mathew versus. South Indian Bank Ltd and others.
The Centre then framed new Tribunal rules in 2020 which were challenged in the case of Madras Bar Association versus. Union of India. The Court further gave a set of directions to modify the rules last year. However, the Madras Bar Association again challenged these rules stating that they are inconsistent with the directions issued by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.