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Developmental Issues

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said its judicial intervention saw the government make abrupt efforts to fill vacancies in tribunals some time back and nothing after that. “We are getting [requests for] extension of time for NCLT (Nation Company Law Tribunal) matters, etc. Some knee-jerk appointments took place and nothing after that. We do not know the fate of members and many are retiring. Bureaucracy is taking it lightly,” a Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana remarked orally.

Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal offered to provide the court with a list of vacancies in tribunals. However, the court scheduled a hearing in two weeks.

In September last, a Special Bench led by the CJI accused the Centre of “cherry-picking” names for appointments to tribunals, left almost defunct by long-pending vacancies.

The Bench, also comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and L. Nageswara Rao, had then “held its hand” on initiating contempt proceedings against the government and allowed the latter two weeks to make appointments to “all the tribunals”. “If the government does not act we will pass orders,” the CJI said.

Chief Justice Ramana had termed the state of tribunals and the thousands of litigants waiting for justice “pitiable”. Cases were adjourned for months. There is no manpower to form Benches. Litigants are made to travel to other faraway States where there are at least some tribunal members available to hear their cases.

The Bench had addressed the Attorney General about how the government pulled the rug from underneath the hard work of the search-cum-selection committees.

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