Justice Rajendra Menon will be the new Chairperson of Armed Forces Tribunal
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Justice Rajendra Menon will be the new Chairperson of Armed Forces Tribunal

Murali Krishnan

Former Delhi High Court Chief Justice Rajendra Menon will be the new Chairperson of Armed Forces Tribunal.

This came to light during the hearing in the Supreme Court today on the appointment of members to Armed Forces Tribunal.

Justice Menon’s name was recommended by the Chief Justice and will be cleared by the Central government soon, Attorney General KK Venugopal told the Supreme Court today.

The Supreme Court recorded the submission of the Attorney General in the order.

Regarding the plea made for seeking an extension of tenure of two judicial members and fresh appointment of judicial  members to AFT, the Court declined to grant the same.

This was after the Attorney General told the Court that the judgment of the Supreme Court in the challenge to Finance Act and Rules pursuant to it, is pending. If appointments are made now and the judgment is delivered striking down the Finance Act or Rules, there could be confusion.

“Question is will Your Lordships strike down the Finance Act or Rules. If appointments are made before the judgment, there could be confusion.”

Hence, he suggested that appointments be made after the judgment is pronounced. The Court relented and refused to pass any order. The order reads:

“As the terms of the two Judicial Members are due to expire in December, 2019, we do not consider it necessary to pass any order at this stage.

So far as the fresh appointment to vacant posts of Judicial Members in the Tribunal is concerned, we leave it open to the Government to act on the basis of the recommendation of the Committee, if such recommendation has been made.”

Interestingly, the Attorney General also told the Court that there are 14 vacancies in AFT insofar as judicial members are concerned and 12 vacancies with respect to administrative members.

[Read Order]

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