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Supreme Court: Taking note of the depleting strength of the members of the NCLT and NCLAT, the 3-judge bench of L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has issued certain directions and has asked the Government to complete the reappointment process “at the earliest and not later than two months”.

The direction came in the petition filed by the National Company Law Tribunal and Appellate Tribunal Bar Association seeking direction to the Central Government

  • to fill up the vacancies of Chairman, NCLAT and President of NCLT without any further delay.
  • to issue letters of appointment to the candidates pursuant to the Selection procedure initiated in 2019 and to fill up the remaining vacancies of Members of NCLT and NCLAT.
  • to extend the term of six Members of the NCLT and NCLAT for a further period of five years as they are completing the tenure by June, 2021.

The Additional Solicitor General Balbir Singh had told the Court that the process for appointment of candidates who have been selected pursuant to the procedure which was initiated in 2019 shall be expedited and orders of appointment shall be issued soon. In respect of the process to be initiated for filling up the existing vacancies, a search cum Selection Committee has to be constituted. The Court, hence, directed that the Selection Process shall be initiated at the earliest.

On the issue of extension of the term of the Members of the NCLT and NCLAT who are completing their tenure in June, 2021 is concerned, Attorney General KK Venugopal submitted that the government has initiated the process for reappointment by requesting the Chief Justice of India to constitute a committee for the purposes of the reappointment of members to the NCLT and NCLAT.

As per Section 413 of the Company’s Act 2013, the President or other members of the Tribunal shall hold office for a period of 5 years and shall be entitled for reappointment for another term of 5 years.

The petitioner, however, requested that the members who are completing their tenure should be permitted to continue till the process of reappointment is completed.

“… there are 39 members at present for a sanctioned strength of 63 and the depletion of the strength of the members will adversely affect the smooth functioning of the Tribunals.”

The Court, hence, directed the Government to complete the process within two months and said,

“As the Government has already initiated the process of reappointment by writing to the Hon’ble Chief Justice, we trust and hope that the reappointment process should be completed expeditiously, as there is no necessity of issuance of any advertisement for participation of other eligible candidates. Reappointment of members can be considered separately without waiting for the process of fresh appointments to commence.”

[National Company Law Tribunal and Appellate Tribunal Bar Association v. Ministry of Corporate Affairs, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 406, order dated 31.05.2021]


For Petitioner(s) Mr. A.S. Chandhiok, Sr. Adv. Mr. Virender Ganda, Sr. Adv. Mr. Ajay Kumar Jain, Adv Mr. Rakesh Kumar, Adv Mr. Vipul Ganda, Adv Mr. Vishal Ganda, Adv Mr. Satyajit A. Desai, Adv. Mrs. Anagha S Desai, AOR Ms. Aastha Trivedi, Adv Ms. Guresha Bhamra, Adv Mr. Tejasvi Chaudhry, Adv Mr. Satya Kam Sharma, Adv.

For Respondent(s) Mr. KK Venugopal, Ld. AG Mr. Balbir Singh, Ld. ASG Mr. R. Balasubramanium, Sr. Adv. Mr. Zoheb Hossain, Adv Ms. Shradha Deshmukh, Adv. Ms. Chinmayee Chandra, Adv. Mr. Shyam Gopal, Adv. Mr. Ankur Talwar, Adv. Ms. Suhasini Sen, Adv. Mr. Gurmeet Singh Makker, AOR

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Supreme Court: The Court has directed all States, Union Territories (UTs) and the High Courts to apprise it on the status of vacancies of judicial officers as on June 30 and sought personal appearance of all State Law Secretaries and the Registrar Generals of HCs before it on July 31.

“The authorities shall indicate the total strength of each cadre; the number of posts in different cadres actually filled up; the number of posts in each cadre lying vacant; the number of posts in respect of which selection is presently going on and the stage of the said process of selection, and finally, the number of posts in different cadres for which the process of selection is yet to be initiated,”

The Court had, on October 22 last year, taken note of over 5,000 vacant posts of judicial officers in lower courts across the country and sought information from all the 24 High Courts as also states.

The bench of Ranjan Gogi, CJ and Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, JJ said,

“Regarding the issue of filling up of the vacancies in different cadres of the District and subordinate judicial services of the states and UTs, the concerned authority of the state governments/UTs and also the Registrar Generals of the jurisdictional High Courts shall inform the Secretary General of this court the position with regard to filling up of the vacancies in the judicial services in each state,”

The Law Secretaries of each State and the Registrar Generals of each High Courts shall be personally present in court on July 31, it said.

The bench also took note of a report dealing with the central funding on infrastructure of subordinate judiciary.

“Solicitor General (Tushar Mehta) is granted time until July 31 to interact with the concerned officials of the Union of India and to lay before the court the views of the Union of India with regard to the suggestions made by the Amicus Curiae (on infrastructure of lower courts),”

Earlier, the Court had termed the extent of vacancies in lower judicairy as “wholly unacceptable” and sought information from all the 24 High Courts on it. It had said there were 22,036 posts of higher and lower judicial officers in lower courts in the country and, as on date, 5,133 posts are vacant.

(Source: PTI)