Welcome Move to Nudge on Tribunals – The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/et-editorial/welcome-move-to-nudge-on-tribunals/articleshow/86148399.cmsSynopsis

​​The Tribunal Reforms Act 2021 contains provisions of the Ordinance that had been struck down by the court. The government has, in many instances, strengthened tribunals or set them up in critical sectors. Yet, in failing to staff them adequately, the government is undermining these bodies and hurting the goal of creating a $5 trillion economy.

Tribunals or judicial or quasi-judicial specialised and sector-specific adjudicatory bodies are becoming increasingly slow or non-functional. The failure to fill vacancies has meant that fewer people carry the full load. The Supreme Court took umbrage at the government’s failure to fill vacancies on tribunals, and the government announced 31 appointments to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and the Income-Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), late last week.

This serves to take the sting off the Supreme Court’s criticism when the central government is expected to inform the Supreme Court today what it is doing to fill the 350 or so vacancies on assorted tribunals. Tribunals combine judicial and sectorspecific technical knowhow to produce fast-track dispute resolution, whose decisions can be appealed only in the higher judiciary. It is for this reason that tribunals have judicial and technical administrative members.

Appointments are delayed due to failure to constitute selection committees, the committees’ dawdling and the government’s failure to respond to committee recommendations. There are instances of selection committee shortlists pending since May 2020. The law recently passed by Parliament requires filling the vacancy in 3 months. Additionally, the apex court has expressed concern about the government’s tone deafness to its orders.

The Tribunal Reforms Act 2021 contains provisions of the Ordinance that had been struck down by the court. The government has, in many instances, strengthened tribunals or set them up in critical sectors. Yet, in failing to staff them adequately, the government is undermining these bodies and hurting the goal of creating a $5 trillion economy.

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