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New Delhi: Expressing concern over the delay in appointment to various tribunals, the Supreme Court has directed the Center to immediately complete the appointment of four judicial members to the Railway Claims Tribunal approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.
A bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao, however, said that the tenure of such members would be subject to the outcome of a petition pending on the issue.
The apex court was hearing a petition filed by the Bar Association, Railway Claims Tribunal, Jaipur, seeking appointment to the vacant posts of judicial members of the tribunal.
The apex court noted that on April 27, 2020, the Center submitted that the process of appointing 17 members to the tribunal would be completed within 15 days.
Technical members were appointed on June 15, 2020. However, the appointment of judicial members was withheld.
When the case was heard on December 3, 2020, the Center assured the court that the appointments to the post of judicial members would take effect soon.
Senior advocate Nikhil Nayyar, on behalf of the petitioner, cited the proceedings of October 21, 2020, by which the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the proposal to appoint four judicial members to the tribunal.
He argued that there is no reason not to appoint persons whose appointments have been approved.
Attorney General KK Venugopal told the court that the delay in appointments was because the decision of this Court provides for a five-year term, while the ordinance of April 4, 2021 fixes the tenure of the members for four years.
The bench also comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and S. Ravindra Bhat, however, said, “The appointment of the four judicial members approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet on October 21, 2020 will be done immediately.” The term of such members will be subject to the result of the writ petition filed by the Madras Bar Association which has been listed for final hearing on May 31, 2021.
The case is listed for hearing two weeks later.

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