Parliament clears Tribunals Reforms Bill 2021 to lay down terms and conditions for Service, Tenure of Members of Tribunals against the SC’s Ruling [Read Bill]

Parliament - Tribunals Reforms Bill 2021 - Tenure of Members of Tribunals - Taxscan

The Parliament has cleared the Tribunals Reforms Bill 2021 so as to lay down terms and conditions for the service and tenure of members of various tribunals.

The Bill while prescribing the Service conditions said that the minimum age requirement of 50 years still finds a place in the Bill. Similarly, the tenure for the Chairperson and the members of the tribunal remained four years.

Section 3(7) of the Bill reads “notwithstanding anything contained in any judgment, order or decree of any court, or in any law for the time being in force, the Search-cum-Selection Committee shall 35 recommend a panel of two names for appointment to the post of Chairperson or Member, as the case may be, and the Central Government shall take a decision on the recommendations made by that Committee, preferably within three months from the date of such recommendation.”

It is noteworthy that the Tribunals Reforms Bill 2021 contains the same provisions in the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021, which were struck down by the Apex Court in the Madras Bar Association case. The three-judge bench of Justices L Nageswarao Rao, Hemant Gupta, and Ravindra Bhat held that this term violated the express direction given in an earlier judgment that the term of tribunal members should be 5 years. Therefore, the court set aside those provisions.

“Prescribing 50 years as a minimum age limit for consideration of advocates has the devastating effect of entirely excluding successful young advocate cates, especially those who might be trained and competent in the particular subject (such as Indirect Taxation, Anti-Dumping, Income-Tax, International Taxation, and Telecom Regulation). The exclusion of such eligible candidates in preference to those who are more than 50 years of age is inexplicable and therefore entirely arbitrary,” the Apex court said.

Although the opposition moved a motion to refer the bill to the select committee, it was defeated with 44 ‘Ayes’ and 79 ‘Noes’. The Lok Sabha passed on August 3.

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