The Central government has cleared the appointment of six judicial members to the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT).
The six members appointed are:
1. Justice Bala Krishna Narayana;
2. Justice Shashi Kant Gupta;
3. Justice Rajiv Narain Raina;
4. Justice K Harilal;
5. Justice Dharam Chand Chaudhary;
6. Justice Anjana Mishra
In line with the Tribunal Reforms Act, 2021, this appointment is for a period of four years, or till the members attain the age of 67 years, whichever is earlier.
These appointments have been made after the top court came down heavily on Centre for delay in filling up the vacancies.
A three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana had on September 6, pulled up the government for its inaction in filling up vacancies in tribunals and also berated it for enacting the Tribunals Reforms Act, 2021 in violation of its judgments.
The Court had said that the government is leaving the Supreme Court with no option but to initiate contempt of court action or close down tribunals.
As per reports, the AFT is functioning with just four benches in three cities — two in Delhi, and one each in Chandigarh and Lucknow.
The pendency is also high with about 19,000 cases awaiting final adjudication.
The functioning of the AFT is governed by the Armed Forces Act. An AFT bench comprises one judicial and one administrative or expert member, and functions only when the quorum of two members is complete.
More details awaited.