Today, the Supreme Court upheld the validity of Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2020 (2020 Rules)with some modifications and ordered constitution of National Tribunals Commission to supervise the appointments to and functioning of tribunals
The matter has come up before a three-judge bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao, comprising Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice S Ravindra Bhat. It was held that the 2020 Rules shall apply prospectively from Feb. 12, 2020, and issued a slew of directions to govern tribunals and the appointments and service conditions of tribunal members.
While hearing a plea, Supreme Court calls for extension of tenures of Tribunal members till December 31, reserves verdict in challenge to Tribunal Rules
A petition was filed by the Madras Bar Association (MBA) challenging the 2020 Rules for violating the principle of separation of powers and independence of judiciary. In its plea, it has stated; the 2020 Rules posed a threat to the independence of the judiciary and to the effective and efficient administration of justice.
Moreover, Advocates with 10 years of legal practice will be eligible for appointment as judicial members of tribunals. The Order passed by the bench has emphasized that;
“The Union of India shall constitute a National Tribunals Commission which shall act as an independent body to supervise the appointments and functioning of Tribunals, as well as to conduct disciplinary proceedings against members of Tribunals and to take care of administrative and infrastructural needs of the Tribunals, in an appropriate manner,”
The court also changed the composition of search-cum-selection committees under the Rules. As per the modifications, the Chief Justice of India or his nominee will have a casting vote while heading the committee.
Madras Bar Association v. Union of India; (WP. No. 804/2020)