The Supreme Court on Monday made it clear that a person selected as the member of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) will continue till the age of 62 years and the person holding the post of president shall continue till the age of 65 years.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud was informed by Attorney General KK Venugopal that there is no stipulation of tenure in respect of the ITAT.
Also, senior counsel Siddharth Luthra drew the attention of the bench to the order dated May 11 of the court, directing existing members of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) to continue until fresh appointments are effected by the Centre.
“Your Lordships had said the Commission shall not lie empty and that the members shall continue until new appointments…what is happening is that the new members have not come in and the old members have been asked to move out retrospectively,” he submitted.
“The recommendations have already gone…,” remarked the Chief Justice.
“Why have they come back? Out of three judicial members, one has not been approved and two are lying pending for whatever reason…please let the existing members continue till the fresh appointments,” replied Luthra.
“The posts which are vacant will be approved and filled,” assured the Chief Justice.
In respect of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), Advocate Aishwarya Bhati expressed concerns regarding the age of retirement and its impact on the term of office. Luthra also pointed out the lack of coherence as to the rules to be applied in case of, inter alia, the AFT.
“The AFT has tenure posts…five years have to be there,” advanced the AG.
The Chief Justice noted the bar of 70 years and 65 years in case the chairman of the AFT has been a Supreme Court judge or the Chief Justice of a High Court, respectively, and of 65 years in case of members. Bhati has been required to submit a statement in writing as regards the AFT, a copy of which shall also be served on the AG.
In so far as Chief Justice Misra was informed that the ACC approval in respect of the members of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has been obtained but the appointments have not been effected, the AG has been asked to procure instructions.