The Supreme Court on Friday extended by three months the tenure of the chairperson and members of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) and expressed displeasure over the delay in appointments in tribunals in the country.
“This is the position in almost all the tribunals in the country. You see NGT (National Green Tribunal), you do not have requisite expert members and judicial members there. This is a problem,” a Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan observed.
The apex court was informed that tenure of TDSAT chairperson, former apex court judge Justice Shiva Kirti Singh, is coming to end on July 20 and the tenure of members of the tribunal has already ended.
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told the Bench, also comprising Justices S.K. Kaul and M.R. Shah, that tenure of TDSAT’s chairperson be extended for some period to enable the entire process of selection and appointment be completed.
“After hearing counsel for the parties, we are of the view that the tenure of the chairman and the members of TDSAT be extended for a period of three months during which period the entire process of appointment of the chairman and members be completed,” the Bench said in its order.
The top court was also informed that the selection and search committee has already made recommendations for judicial and non-judicial members of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) on June 24 this year and it is pending consideration with the government.
“In above view of the matter, we are of the view that the government may take appropriate decision with regard to selection and appointment (for appointment in NCDRC) before the next date of hearing,” the Bench said and posted the matter for further hearing on August 26.
On April 7, the apex court had extended by three months the tenure of chairperson of TDSAT and had expressed concern over the delay in appointment of administrative and technical members in the tribunal.
During the hearing in April, the apex court had observed that tribunals are alternatives to judicial system and asked the Centre as to how the TDSAT would function without sitting members.
It had asked the Centre to expedite the appointment process for members of the tribunal.
The top court was hearing a plea which has sought extension of tenure of the tribunal’s chairperson besides seeking direction to the Centre to make appointments to the post of members in TDSAT.