Pending vacancies in tribunals
● The Supreme Court bench composed of Chief Justice NV Ramana , Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice L Nageshwara Rao pulled up the government over vacancies in tribunals.
● Around 250 vacancies exist across various key tribunals such as National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) , Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) and Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT).
● Over 15 tribunals did not have presiding officers.
Tribunals in India are on the verge of collapse. Analyze the statement and suggest recommendations to improve the functioning of tribunals.
Role of tribunals:
● Tribunals are quasi-judicial bodies set up by law and allow for adjudication on technical matters which require subject expertise that judges of the High Courts and Supreme Court may not possess.
● Tribunals are also expected to provide speedy redressal of disputesas they are not bound by complex court procedures.
● Tribunals reduce caseload on judiciary by providing a platform for dispute resolution.
Why vacancies exist:
● The Selection Committee for tribunals had recommended names for appointment to the respective tribunals. Eg. 12 names were recommended for the Armed Forces Tribunal in 2020 while 35 names were recommended for the Income Tax Appellate Tribunaltwo years ago.
● However, the government has not appointed the recommended names.
Why vacancies are concerning:
● Several tribunals such as DRTs are single member tribunals and therefore a vacancy can make the entiretribunal defunct.
● Tribunals such as NCLT and NCLAT are cornerstones of the economy, increasing vacancies in these tribunals delays decisions on vital corporate mattersthat are important for a well-functioning economy.
● Cases are being adjourned in tribunals by over a year leading to various tribunals being on the “verge of collapse” as noted by the Supreme Court.
● The breakdown of tribunals would increase the workload on the already overburdened judiciary.
Tribunals play an important role in the justice system. The growing vacancies are a grave cause of concern. It is the need of the hour to urgently fill up the vacancies and ensure that tribunals are functioning effectively.