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Sunday, 19 September 2021

Admist stand-off with SC, Centre notifies Tribunal (Conditions of Service) Rules, 2021

 Tribunals, pic by: Basics 

Amidst an ongoing stand-off with the Supreme Court over the long-pending issue of filling vacancies in various tribunals, the Central government has notified the Tribunal (Conditions of Service) Rules, 2021.

The new rules deal with the criteria and the appointment procedure of persons to 14 tribunals, including key tribunals like the NCLAT, TDSAT, Armed Forces Tribunal, National Green Tribunal and more.

A complete list of the 14 tribunals under the new rules is as follows:

1. Industrial Tribunal

2. Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT)

3. Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal

4. Appellate Tribunal under Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators Act

5. Administrative Tribunal 

6. Railway Claims Tribunal

7. Securities Appellate Tribunal

8. Debt Recovery Tribunal

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9. The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT)

10. National Companies Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT)

11. National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

12. Appellate Tribunal for Electricity

13. Armed Forces Tribunal

14. National Green Tribunal

The rules lay down the minimum criteria for the appointment of Chairpersons, Judicial Members and Technical Members to these tribunals. Most tribunals require the Chairperson to be amongst sitting and retired judges of the High Courts or the Supreme Court. The Securities Appellate Tribunal, TDSAT, NCLAT, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Appellate Tribunal for Electricity, Armed Forces Tribunal and NGT require the Chairperson to be a judge of the Supreme Court or the Chief Justice of a High Court.

The rules also lay down the process of selection of members and chairpersons, which is required to be undertaken by the Search-cum-Selection Committee, which will scrutinise applicants, shortlist candidates and recommend a panel of two names for every post for which selection is being made.

The rules also provide for a mechanism for complaints alleging any definite charge of misbehavior or incapacity to perform the functions of the office in respect of a Chairperson or Member. The Center will refer any such complaint to the Search cum Selection Committee, and the committee has to decide within 6 months on what action needs to be taken.

The rules also give details of the salaries and allowances of the chairpersons and its members. While chairpersons are eligible for a salary of Rs. 2.5 lakh per month, members will get Rs. 2.25 lakh per month. Accommodation in government housing, allowances equal to group A officials of the government will also be provided.

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