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  • In April 2021, the Madras Bar Association moved to the Supreme Court challenging the Tribunal Reforms Ordinance 2021 under the pretext that it abolishes certain appellate tribunals.
  • The Association contended that many of the provisions under the Ordinance are contradictory to the directions issued by the Top Court.
  • It has made amendments to Copy Right Act, Patents Act, Trademarks Act, Customs Act, Cinematograph Act, Finance Act, Farmers Rights Act, and many more.
  • In February 2021, the Government issued a bill to abolish some tribunals where the public at large is not a litigant. Since the bill couldn’t get affirmation from the parliament, the Ordinance was issued.

Proceedings of the Case

  • The Supreme Court on Monday decided that it will decide the plea filed by the Bar Association of Madras challenging the Tribunal Reforms Ordinance to the extent that it amends the Section 184 and 186 of the Finance Act 2017 after a week.
  • During the hearing, Senior Advocate Arvind Datar argued that in the present-day matter there is a solid case for stay of the Ordinance. The Senior Counsel submitted that the Stay would bring “some kind of sanctity to the system.”
  • Advocate Datar also said violating the orders of this Hon’ble Court again and again isn’t permissible and there’s a limit to any kind of disobedience of the Court’s order.
  • He also submitted that this ordinance has nothing to do with the continuing appointments and that people appointed before this will continue.
  • Adv. Rahul Kaushik, on being asked about the number of posts advertised by the Court answered that 37 posts were advertised which included 21 Judicial members and 16 Accounting members.

Court’s Observation

  • The 3 judge bench of Hon’ble Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and S. RavindraBhat observed that the main matter challenging the ordinance will be heard in the next week.
  • The Court decided this after consulting the Senior Advocate Arvind Datar and the Attorney General K. K. Venugopal.
  • In relation to the Railway Claim Tribunal, the bench noted that concern has been voiced in relation to the tenure of the members to be appointed. Even though the tenure implemented by the ordinance is 4 years, according to court’s orders it is 5 years.
  • The Hon’ble bench later on held that “We will hear this matter and put an end to it” and accordingly decided to hear the matter in a week.

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