Cherry picking of candidate cannot be permitted: Supreme Court

A Special Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana, Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice L Nageswara Rao on the 15th of September 2021 objected to the manner in which the Central Government recently cleared appointments to various tribunals. The bench noted that that the recommendations made by Search and Selection Committees (SCSCs) had been acted upon in an unsatisfactory manner. The Court observed that candidates were being cherry picked by the Government while other were being kept on hold.

The Chief Justice noted that the same thing had happened with Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT). It was further added that the lists that were prepared by the Supreme Court of candidates suitable for appointment in the NCLT, TDSAT saw similar fate. Justice Chandrachud pointed out a similar situation with the NCDRC appointments as well.

The hearing comes after the 6th of September 2021 hearing in which the Supreme Court came down on the Government for its failure to fill the vacancies in various tribunals across the country and gave the Government an ultimatum to act upon the recommendations made by SCSC. The Central Government filed an affidavit in Court on the 15th of September 2021 stating that the recommendations made by the Supreme Court had been acted upon by the Government. However the bench was not pleased.

Attorney General K K Venugopal appearing for the Central Government relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in the UPSC case which held that the Central Government was at liberty to not accept the recommendations made by the SCSC. Displeased with this contention the Chief Justice took note of the hardships that the Supreme Court had to face during COVID to ensure that the lists were prepared and the time wasted by the Court in preparing the said list only to be overlooked by the Government.

The Court issued notice in the plea made by the Madras Bar Association against the Tribunal Reforms Act 2021. On the request of the Attorney General the matter has been adjourned to next week.

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