New Delhi: The Supreme Court has recommended the name of former Delhi High Court Chief Justice Rajendra Menon for appointment as new chairperson of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) and asked the Centre to make the appointment immediately as present chairperson Justice Virendra Singh would retire on October 6.
"So far as the chairperson of the tribunal is concerned, recommendations have been made and the matter is awaiting orders of the appropriate authority i.e. Union government. The Union government may act accordingly," the apex court Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.
The Centre told the Bench prima facie it had no objection with regard to accepting the recommendation.
The court was hearing a plea seeking direction for continuance of AFT chairperson and two judicial members, whose tenure would conclude on October 6, December 5 and December 14, respectively.
The Centre informed the court the decision over filling up of other posts of judicial members in the AFT would be taken by the government after the judgment on a batch of pleas challenging the Finance Act and the Tribunal, Appellate and other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and Other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules 2017, which dealt with appointment, tenure and other service conditions of chairs/members of such panels.
The appointments were stalled due to pendency of the petitions, which submitted that the newly amended Finance Act had changed the processes related to search, selection and removal of members and presiding officers of tribunals.
The terms of these judicial members are going to end in December.
The top court also said "it did consider necessary to pass any order at this stage on issue of judicial members."
"So far, as the fresh appointment to vacant posts of judicial members in the tribunal is concerned, we leave it open to the government to act on the basis of recommendation of the committee, if such recommendation has been made," the court said.