MADRAS BAR ASSOCIATION Vs. UNION OF INDIA AND ANOTHER
LAWS(SC)-2020-11-41
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on November 27,2020

MADRAS BAR ASSOCIATION Appellant
VERSUS
UNION OF INDIA AND ANOTHER Respondents





Cited Judgements :-

NATIONAL COMPANY LAW TRIBUNAL BAR ASSOCIATION VS. UNION OF INDIA [LAWS(SC)-2022-8-52] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

L.NAGESWARA RAO,J. - (1.)This Court is once again, within the span of a year, called upon to decide the constitutionality of various provisions concerning the selection, appointment, tenure, conditions of service, and ancillary matters relating to various tribunals, 19 in number, which act in aid of the judicial branch. That the judicial system and this Court in particular has to live these deja vu moments, time and again (exemplified by no less than four constitution bench judgments) in the last 8 years, speaks profound volumes about the constancy of other branches of governance, in their insistence regarding these issues. At the heart of this, however, are stakes far greater: the guarantee of the rule of law to each citizen of the country, with the concomitant guarantee of equal protection of the law. This judgment is to be read as a sequel, and together with the decision of the Constitution Bench in Rojer Mathew vs. South Indian Bank Limited, (2020) 6 SCC 1.
(2.)The core controversy arising for this Court's consideration is the constitutional validity of the "Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities [Qualification, Experience and Other Conditions of Service of Members] Rules, 2020" (hereinafter referred to as "the 2020 Rules").
(3.)Before considering the merits of the case, it is necessary to refer to the events preceding the issuance of the 2020 Rules for a better understanding of the dispute. Like many other nations, India recognized the need for Tribunalisation of justice to provide for adjudication by persons with ability to decide disputes in specific fields as well as to provide expedited justice in certain kinds of cases. Part XIV-A was inserted in the Constitution of India by the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976. Article 323-A enables the Parliament to constitute administrative tribunals for adjudication of the disputes relating to the recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of any State or any local or other authority. According to Article 323-B, the appropriate Legislature may constitute Tribunals for adjudication of any dispute, complaints, or other offences with respect to all or any of the matters specified in Clause (2) therein. The vires of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 (enacted by Parliament in furtherance of Article 323A, for setting up administrative tribunals for adjudication of service disputes of public servants) was challenged in proceedings under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. Two questions that were posed in the said Writ Petition related to the exclusion of jurisdiction of the High Court under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution in service matters, the composition of the administrative Tribunal and the mode of appointment of Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Members. While holding that the bar on jurisdiction of the High Courts' cannot be a ground of attack, this Court in S.P. Sampath Kumar vs. Union of India, (1987) 1 SCC 124 held that the Tribunal "should be a real substitute of the High Courts not only in form and de jure but in content and de facto". The Central Government was directed to make modifications to the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 pertaining to the composition of the Tribunal to ensure selection of proper and competent people to the posts of Presiding Officers of the Tribunal.
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