Supreme Court Extends Tenure Of TDSAT Chairperson, Expresses Concern Over Delay In Appointing Members
The Supreme Court Tuesday extended by three months the tenure of the chairperson of Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal, which is scheduled to end on April 20, and expressed concern over the delay in appointment of administrative and technical members in the tribunal.
A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and Deepak Gupta questioned the government on why the members of the tribunal have not been appointed since October 2019. "We express our concern regarding appointments of administrative member(s) and technical member(s) not being made after they have fallen vacant long back," the bench said in its order.
"We extend the tenure of the Chairperson of TDSAT for a period of three months from the date of expiry of his/her tenure i.e. April 20, 2020," said the bench, which heard the matter through video-conferencing. During the hearing, the apex court asked the government as to how the tribunal would function like this since the tenure of chairperson would come to an end on April 20.
Observing that tribunals are alternatives to the judicial system, the top court asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta about how the TDSAT would function without sitting members. "Only the chairperson is there and his tenure ends on April 20. How can the tribunal function like this?" the bench said.
Mehta told the bench that he would take instructions from the government on the issue of appointments in TDSAT. The bench, which posted the matter for hearing in the first week of May, asked Mehta to take instructions regarding the steps being taken for appointments of members of TDSAT.
It asked the government to expedite the appointment process for members of the tribunal. The top court was hearing a plea which has sought extension of tenure of the tribunal's chairperson besides seeking direction to the government to make appointments to the post of members in TDSAT. Former apex court judge Justice Shiva Kirti Singh is the incumbent chairperson of TDSAT.