The Centre has requested the Supreme Court for nominating a Judge of the Apex Court as Chairperson of the Selection Committee for filling up vacancies in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).

A Bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala was apprised by Advocate Siddhant Kohli, appearing on behalf of the Union, that in pursuance of the earlier order of the Court, tenures of appropriate incumbent members of the Central Administrative Tribunal were extended.

The updated status report filed by the Union of India showed that out of the sanctioned strength of 70 members of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), 51 posts have been filled (consisting of 26 Judicial Members and 25 Administrative Members). Moreover, on the present date, there exist 19 vacancies comprising 09 Judicial Members and 10 Administrative Members.

Earlier, against the sanctioned strength, only 29 Judges were in position leaving 41 vacancies in the CAT. Senior Counsel Abhaya K Behera assisted by AoR Amita Singh Kalkal entered an appearance on behalf of the petitioner, the Central Administrative Tribunal (Principal Bench) Bar Association.

"In view of the 19 vacancies which still continue in the CAT, we direct that the tenure of those existing officers, which has been continued, shall be extended further until the process of selection is completed and the selected candidates join", the Apex Court ordered.

Earlier, the Supreme Court in its order on May 13 2022 had directed that the incumbent members of the CAT will continue to hold their offices, as an interim measure. "The vacancies impinge upon the citizens' right to access to justice. Hence, this Court is of the considered view that the exercise of the jurisdiction under Article 142 is mandated. We accordingly direct that pending further orders, the incumbents who are holding the post either of Judicial Member or Administrative Member shall continue to function even after the completion of their tenures, subject to their consent and availability to act as Judges", the Supreme Court then said.

The Court has listed the matter for further hearing on February 7, 2023; asking the Union to apprise of the further steps taken by it to the Court for filling up of vacancies in the CAT.

Cause Title- Central Administrative Tribunal (Principal Bench) Bar Association v. Union of India & Ors.

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