The Supreme Court while hearing a petition regarding vacancies in the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) took critical note that while such tribunals and allied forums are created to take work away from judiciary, “unmanned commissions bring them to a standstill.”
Petitioner Kudrat Sandhu through Advocate Parag Tripathi informed the court that though the sanctioned strength of the NCDRC is 11 members, currently there are three vacancies among judicial members and four in the non-judicial segment and urged the Court to extend the retirement dates of the currently appointed members until new appointments are made.
The Court expressed its displeasure at how vacancies are pending at these forum, emphasising that vacancies should be addressed urgently and observed,
“You keep creating forums to take away work from the judiciary but then you do not man them and then they come to a standstill. This is creating a problem and we must express our displeasure at this and this should be attended to urgently,” Justice Sanjay Kishen Kaul told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.
Justice kaul added,
“We will ask the SG to take instructions. It is a perennial problem. Tribunal functioning has come to a standstill” and elaborating on how the top Court was trying to deal with the vacancies in High courts etc., such vacancies cannot be allowed to continue.
We were trying to push for the High Court appointments and we were told High Courts are taking time. We issued directions asking High Courts to look into it. The second problem is that collegium and government is not on the same page so a large number of recommendations do not go through. But the what about the appointments that have been cleared? This cannot be allowed to continue.”
The three-judge Bench hearing the matter extended the tenure of VK jain as member of the NCDRC for three months from May 29 and was scheduled to retire.
The matter has now been posted for after six weeks.