Justice Shiva Kirti Singh to continue as TDSAT Chairman: Supreme Court

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Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 3

Justice Shiva Kirti Singh will continue as Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) Chairperson until his successor was appointed, the Supreme Court said on Thursday.

“Meanwhile in view of the extraordinary situation and letter dated May 31, 2021, we are of the view that Justice Shiva Kirti Singh will be continuing as TDSAT Chairman till fresh appointment is made. We request the CJI to expedite the process of appointment,” a Bench led by Justice LN Rao said.

Justice Shiva Kirti Singh would continue as TDSAT chairman since there were no other members and fresh appointment was not made yet, it said.

The tenure of Justice Singh—who has got several extensions—would go beyond the four-year limit prescribed under the latest Tribunal Reforms Ordinance—currently under challenge before the top court.

The administrative member of TDSAT retired in October 2018, while the technical Member retired in 2019. Justice Singh—who was due to retire on April 20 — has given several three-month extensions since April 7 last year.

The top court had directed the government to ensure that the appointment process for all the members of TDSAT was completed in the next three months.

Earlier, he was given extension after the court was informed that the tribunal had no other members except the Chairman and he too was allowed to retire it would become dysfunctional.

The tribunal was virtually non-functional as only Chairman—Justice Singh—was there and his original tenure was to end on April 20 last year, it was told.

“How can tribunals function like this?” the Bench had wondered.

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had in 2019 quashed the rules for appointment of tribunal chairpersons and members and said they should not be made to depend on government ministries and departments.

Thereafter, the government promulgated the Tribunal Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021, which has been challenged before the top court.



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