SC stays Modi Govt Moves to Curb Independence of the NGT

The top court said the interim arrangement will continue until it decides on pleas challenging the amendments of the bill. The Modi sarkar had amended provisions of Finance Act 2017 that violated the separation of powers. On Friday, the The Supreme Court on Friday stayed parts of amendments to the Finance Act, 2017, and said appointments to all the tribunals would be made as per earlier rules, until pleas challenging the provision of the bill are decided.


The bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud accepted the suggestions for the interim arrangement submitted by the Central Administration Tribunal.

On June 1, 2017, the Department of Revenue, Finance Ministry, notified the Tribunals, Appellate Tribunals and other Authorities of the Qualifications, Experience and other Conditions of Service of Members Rules, 2017. Sabrangindia had analysed this move at length.

These rules under Section 184, Finance Act 2017 further empower the Central Government to make regulations for necessary qualifications, appointment, term of office, salary and allowances, resignation, removal and other terms and conditions of service for judges appointed to 19 tribunals functioning in India. The amendments pose an immediate threat to the already restricted independence of the tribunals.

The Supreme Court was hearing a batch of petitions that challenged the constitutional validity of the draft rules under the Finance Act, 2017, which were amended in March 2017. The amendment provides the Centre the power to govern appointments, removal and service conditions of the members. Since the amendment, there have been more delays in filling vacancies in tribunals such as the National Green Tribunal.

The bench said the appointment of the chairperson of the tribunal will be made by the chief justice or his nominee. A three-member panel comprising two government secretaries and the chairperson of the concerned tribunal will decide the appointment of other members of the tribunal, the court added.

The petitioners have claimed that the provisions violated the independence and powers of the judiciary and that the new rules will encroach upon the principle of separation of powers. After the Finance Act, 2017, was passed, the government merged eight tribunals, bringing the total number of such panels down to 19 from the earlier 26 tribunals, IANS reported.



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