The Rajya Sabha on Monday declared the Tribunals Reforms Bill 2021, which attempts to put down terms and conditions for the service and tenure of members of different tribunals. Distinctly, the Bill includes the same provisions in the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021, which were hit down by the Supreme Court in the recent judgment in the Madras Bar Association case.
As per the proviso to Section 3, the minimum age qualification of 50 years still gets a place in the Bill. Furthermore, the tenure for the Chairperson and the members of the tribunal continues for four years. Moreover, Section 3(7) also tried to loosen the decision of the Apex Court which included the provisions correlated to the direction of two names for each office by the Search-cum-Selection Committee and asking the decision to be practised by the government preferably within three months On July 14 this year, the Supreme Court opposed down the provisions in the Ordinance which had fixed the course of members as 4 years and which had continued fixed the minimum age of appointment of members as 50 years.
Nevertheless, the very same terms are included in the Tribunals Reforms Bill. During the conference in Rajya Sabha on Monday, certain members highlighted that the terms of the Bill were opposed to the Supreme Court judgment.
Reacting to the judgment, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that the rules of the house cannot be diminished while continuing that the Government has regard for the judiciary. She stated that the Supreme Court had not struck down the provisions on the ground of unconstitutionality.
Although the opposition introduced a proposal to refer the bill to a select committee, it was blocked with 44 ‘Ayes’ and 79 ‘Noes’. The Lok Sabha had given the bill on August 3.