Three-judge Supreme Court bench to hear EPFO pleas

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Chief Justice of India N V Ramana on Monday expressed exasperation over the way the government was testing the patience of the Supreme Court by not just delaying appointments to various understaffed tribunals but also flouting the top court’s judgments.

A special bench that included justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao, warned Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that it could initiate contempt proceedings if appointments to fill vacancies in tribunals were not made within a week. 

The bench sharply criticised the Tribunals Reforms Bill, 2021, notified on August 13, saying it contradicted two of its judgments.

“The law is replica of the provisions struck down by this court. Parliament can take away the basis of a judgment through a new law, but cannot enact a law that is directly contrary to the SC judgment and is not a validating legislation,” the court said.

“There are four provisions… a person below the age of 50 years is ineligible for appointment as chairperson or member. Directly contrary to the judgment! Second, the selection committee shall recommend a panel of two names for appointment and the Central government shall take a decision preferably within three months. Directly contradictory. Third, the term of office of chairperson and members will be fixed as four years. Directly contrary. And fourth, allowances made to the chairperson will be the same as a Central government officer carrying the same pay as the chairperson. Again, directly contrary,” Justice Chandrachud said.

The bench adjourned the case to September 13 while issuing notices to the government on a petition filed by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.

It also sought the Centre’s response on multiple petitions to constitute the GST Tribunal, appointment of members in the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) and the SEBI Appellate Tribunal (SAT).