Bill to bring uniformity in tribunal service conditions

PTI New Delhi | Updated on February 19, 2014 Published on February 19, 2014

A legislation to bring uniformity in the tenure, allowances and retirement age of chairpersons and members of the various tribunals functioning in the country was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

The bill provides chairpersons and members of tribunals a uniform tenure of a maximum of five years. But they will have varied retirement ages of 70 years for a Supreme Court judge and 67 years for a High Court judge.

The retirement age of 65 has been proposed for those who join tribunals from the administrative side, the Bill introduced by Law Minister Kapil Sibal said.

As of now, some tribunals have a three-year tenure for retired judges, while others provide for five years. According to a Law Commission report, over 20 Acts administered by various Union ministries govern the functioning of hundreds of tribunals in the country.

The legislation, based on the recommendations of a Group of Ministers, will be overarching over the various laws governing the tribunals with regard to uniformity in tenure and service conditions.

While chairpersons will get a consolidated sum of Rs 3 lakh for furnishing their official residences, the members will be entitled for Rs 2 lakh. Pension for earlier service of chairpersons and members of tribunals will be deducted from their salary.

The bill says that while CGHS facility is available to sitting and retired judges and retired government officials appointed as chairpersons and members, the health facilities will be extended to other appointees of tribunals, such as advocates, CAs and other domain experts for the duration of their tenure as members of such bodies.

The legislation bars members and chairpersons from taking up arbitration work while on the tribunals. But if they are involved in arbitration at the time of their appointment, “competent authority” may allow them to complete that work on a “case-by-case” basis.

The Supreme Court in December had threatened to stay appointment of retired judges to hundreds of tribunals across the country, blaming the Centre’s lethargy in responding to the court’s repeated suggestions to bring uniformity in their appointment process and service conditions.

Published on February 19, 2014
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