The Centre in its status report filed on November 22, 2022, has informed the Supreme Court that out of the total 35 vacancies in NCLT, the process for filing up 15 vacancies is complete, and offer letters have been issued to the selected candidates on November 9, 2022 giving them two weeks' time to join.

In furtherance to this, the Centre has also informed the Bench comprising Justice Krishna Murari & Justice S. Ravindra Bhat that for the remaining 19 vacancies plus one more vacancy which arose in October 2022, the selection process is underway and after advertisement, the Search-cum-Selection Committee is seized with the applications received.

For NCLAT, the Centre told the Court that there is only one vacancy of Judicial Member which was caused in October 2022.

AOR Anand Mishra appeared for the Petitioner while AOR Arvind Kumar Sharma appeared for the Union of India before the Apex Court.

The Counsel appearing for the Union of India apprised the Court that the process for filling up the said vacancy shall start soon.

In this case, the NCLT and NCLAT had filed Writ Petition to direct the Respondent-Union of India to fill up the vacancies of Chairman, NCLAT, and President, NCLT, and also direct the Respondents to issue appointment letters to those who had been selected and a further direction that all vacancies of Members, NCLT be filled.

It was contended in the Writ Petition that only 38 Members are there for a sanctioned strength of 63.

It was also argued that there are six Members who were retiring in the first week of June 2021. As the process for re-appointment of the Members had not commenced, it was just and necessary that the tenure was extended for a short period to ensure that the work in the Tribunals did not suffer.

While the Respondents had submitted before the Apex Court that the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet was considering the list that had been finalized by the Search-cum-Selection Committee (SCSC) and the appointments for the selections initiated in 2019 would be made soon. And, suitable steps would be taken for initiating the process of selection for appointment of Members in the remaining vacancies.

Previously, the Court in its earlier order dated May 24, 2021, had directed that the names recommended by the Selection Committee shall be finalized by the Union and appointments to the post of Member, NCLT, shall be made. The Union was also directed to expedite the process of filling up the remaining posts. The Court had also directed that the reappointment of members of NCLT who were about to retire should be considered at the earliest.

The Court had then listed the matter on May 31, 2021, on which the Court had disposed of the Writ Petition.

The Apex Court on November 22, 2022, has directed for the matter to be listed after six weeks with a fresh status report to be filed by the Union.

Cause Title: Amrendra Kumar Singh v. Union of India & Anr.

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