Centre clears appointments for 18 members to NCLT, 13 members for ITAT

KR Srivats New Delhi | Updated on September 12, 2021

Comes after SC warns of contempt of court action

In the wake of growing criticism over delays in filling up vacancies in Tribunals, the Centre has cleared appointments of as many as 18 new members — eight Judicial members and ten Technical members — to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

It has also approved the appointment of new 13 members — six judicial members and seven accountant members—to the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal ( ITAT).

The latest move comes just few days after the Supreme Court had warned of contempt of court action on government officers for the mounting vacancies in various Tribunals.

While the 18 new members now appointed to NCLT will have a term of five years or till attaining age of 65 years, whichever is earlier, the 13 members appointed to ITAT will each have a term of 4 years or until they attaining the age of 67 years, whichever is earlier, according to the orders issued by by the Department of Personnel Training (DoPT).

NCLT, which is the main adjudicating authority for insolvency and bankruptcy code (IBC) cases, has been faced with a mountain of pending cases with nearly 40 per cent of the Benches remaining vacant. The rise in pendency had even prompted the Standing Committee on Finance to suggest creation of speacilised NCLT Benches only for hearing IBC matters.

The ham handed approach of the centre in the overhaul of the tribunal system had come in for some criticism from several quarters including the judiciary, with whom the executive has had unnecessary confrontation on the Tribunals reforms front in recent days. The Centre had recently enacted the Tribunal Reforms Act so as to address the infrastructure issues and vacancies at the Tribunals besides pendency of cases.

It maybe recalled that a three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana had on September 6 pulled up the government for its inaction in filling up vacancies in Tribunals and for enacting the Tribunal Reforms Act overruling some of its judgements.

“It is clear that you don’t want to respect the judgements of this court. Now we have the option to stay the Tribunal Reforms Act or close down Tribunals or we ourselves appoint people or the next option is initiate contempt of courts Act. These are three options”, the Court had remarked.

Meanwhile, this matter is expected to be again heard by the apex court on Monday.

Published on September 12, 2021

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