The Supreme Court on Wednesday severely criticised the Union government for “cherry-picking” from its recommendations for filling vacant positions in various tribunals across India. The court also warned the Centre that it will have to initiate a contempt case against government officials if appointments from the recommended list are not made soon.
The top court has granted two weeks to the government to fill up the vacancies in the tribunals. It asked the government to return with appointment letters, saying that India is a democratic country and the government will have to follow the rule of law.
The criticism came from Chief Justice of India NV Ramana during a hearing on Wednesday. Last week too, the Centre faced severe criticism for a large number of vacancies in tribunals, or quasi-judicial bodies.
What the court said
The CJI said, “I have seen the NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal) appointments…. more recommendations were made. But in (the) appointments, cherry-picking was done. What kind of selection is this? And the same thing (has been) done with (the) ITAT (Income Tax Appellate Tribunal) members also. We are very unhappy with how the decisions are being taken.”
“I am also part of the NCLT Selection Committee. We interviewed 544 people… out of which we gave the names of 11 judicial members and 10 technical members. From all of these recommendations, only some of them were appointed by the government… rest of the names went to (the) waitlist,” Justice Ramana said.
Replying to the remarks of the court, attorney general KK Venugopal said that the government is entitled to follow certain recommendations. “What is the sanctity of the selection committee (whose composition includes Supreme Court Judges) if the government is going to have the last say?” Justice L Nageswara Rao asked.
To read the latest news in Gujarati click here