The Supreme Court on Thursday advised patience to petitioners seeking urgent hearing of pleas in connection with vacancies in tribunals across the country. The court said that sending officials to jails for lack of appointments was not a solution, reported Bar and Bench.

Tribunals are quasi-judicial bodies that settle administrative and tax-related disputes.

“Should I call the government today only and send them to jail?” Chief Justice NV Ramana asked one of the petitioners. “Will they then appoint people? Have some patience. I took this up yesterday and we will take it up.”

At earlier hearings related to the matter, the Supreme Court has pulled up the central government for not making appointments to the tribunals. At a hearing in September, the Supreme Court had said the government was testing its patience and that the judges could initiate contempt proceedings.

At Thursday’s hearing, a bench of Ramana and Justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli said that it would take up the pleas on February 23 and has asked Attorney General KK Venugopal to assist the court on the matter, reported PTI.

On Wednesday, the court had expressed displeasure at the government’s attitude towards filling up vacancies in the tribunals.

“We are getting [requests for] extension of time for NCLT [National Company Law Tribunal] matters etc,” the court had said. “Some knee jerk appointments took place and nothing after that. We don’t know the fate of members and many are retiring. Bureaucracy is taking it lightly.”

During earlier hearings, the court has also pulled up the government for passing the Tribunal Reforms Act, 2021, which lays down the tenures and other service conditions of tribunal members. Many of these provisions are contrary to the mandate of the Supreme Court verdict regarding tenures of service of tribunal members.