SC seeks Centre's reply on plea challenging Rules on tribunals
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday sought the Centre's response on a petition challenging the recently promulgated rules for selection of adjudicating officials for various tribunals on the ground that they allegedly compromise with judicial independence.
A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices Dipak Misra and D Y Chandrachud asked the government to submit within four weeks its reply on plea challenging the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules. The petition filed by Navdeep Singh, an advocate, gave the example of Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) and alleged that as per the recently promulgated rules, it has been placed under the "complete hold" of the Ministry of Defence, which is the first opposite party in every litigation before the tribunal.
Referring to the promulgated rules, the plea claimed that the Ministry of Defence through the Defence Secretary not only controls the tribunal but also sits in the selection committee to select the adjudicators.
"In other words, the primary litigant in all lis (litigation) before the AFT is also its controlling authority and the said litigant gets to choose its adjudicators and also has a say in their reappointments," the petition filed through advocate Aishwarya Bhati said.
It has also sought a roadmap for reforming tribunals and returning certain jurisdictions back to the regular courts.