The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the rules on tribunals under Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017, and referred the matter of whether the act could be passed as a money bill to a larger bench, Bar and Bench. The court also ordered the government to regulate the tribunals according to existing laws until the rules are reframed.
The court said the appointments to the tribunals would be in terms of the current statutes and not the rules under the Finance Act of 2017, Live Law reported.
Petitioner Roger Mathew and the Revenue Bar Association had in 2017 challenged the provisions of the Finance Act, 2017, which affected powers and structures of various judicial tribunals such as the National Green Tribunal, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal and National Company Law Appellate Tribunal. The petitioners had also argued that the Finance Act cannot be passed as a Money Bill in Parliament.
The amendments provide the Centre the power to govern appointments, removal and service conditions of the members of these tribunals. Since the amendment, there have been more delays in filling vacancies in the National Green Tribunal.
In February 2018, the Supreme Court stayed parts of amendments to the Act and said appointments to all the tribunals would be made as per earlier rules, until pleas challenging the provision of the bill are decided.
In April this year, a Constitution bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices NV Ramana, DY Chandrachud, Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna had reserved its judgement in the case. During the hearing, Attorney General K K Venugopal had argued that the court cannot have jurisdiction over the Lok Sabha Speaker’s decision to certify a bill as a Money Bill under Article 110 of the Indian Constitution.