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Report No. 225

III. S. P. Sampath Kumar V. Union of India

3.1 In S. P. Sampth Kumar v. Union of India, AIR 1987 SC 386, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court observed that the then provisions in the Administrative Tribunals Act 1985 which did not consider advocates with 10 years' practice at the Bar as eligible for appointment as a Vice-Chairman of an Administrative Tribunal were liable to be struck down, as such advocates who are eligible for appointment as High Court Judges must be considered eligible for appointment as Vice- Chairmen of Administrative Tribunals.

3.2 P. N. Bhagwati, J., the then CJI, observed in Sampath Kumar's case:

"I also fail to see why a District Judge or an advocate who is qualified to be a Judge of a High Court should not be eligible to be considered for appointment as Vice-Chairman of the Administrative Tribunal.

It may be noted that since the Administrative Tribunal has been created in substitution of the High Court, the Vice-Chairman of the Administrative Tribunal would be in the position of a High Court Judge and if a District Judge or an advocate qualified to be a Judge of the High Court, is eligible to be a High Court Judge, there is no reason why he should not equally be eligible to be a vice-Chairman of the Administrative Tribunal. Can the position of a Vice-Chairman of the Administrative Tribunal be considered higher than that of a High Court Judge so that a person who is eligible to be a High Court Judge may yet be regarded as ineligible for becoming a Vice-Chairman of the Administrative Tribunal.

It does appear that the provisions of the impugned Act in regard to the composition of the Administrative Tribunal are a little weighted in favour of members of the Services. This weightage in favour of the members of the Services and value-discounting of the judicial members does have the effect of making the Administrative Tribunal less effective and efficacious than the High Court.

I would therefore suggest that a District Judge or an advocate who is qualified to be a Judge of the High Court should be regarded as eligible for being Vice-Chairman of the Administrative Tribunal and unless an amendment to that effect is carried out on or before 31st March, 1987, the impugned Act would have to be declared to be invalid, because the provision in regard to the composition of the Administrative Tribunal cannot be severed from the other provisions contained in the impugned Act."

3.3 In its Order1 on the review petition filed in Sampath Kumar's case, the Supreme Court observed:

"The second contention of the learned Attorney General is that the observations of Bhagwati, CJI that for the appointment to the post of Vice-Chairman of the Administrative Tribunal, besides a District Judge an Advocate who is qualified to be a Judge of the High Court should also be regarded as eligible, calls for reconsideration because an Advocate will not have the administrative experience which is required for a member of the Administrative Tribunal. We are unable to accept the contention.

In the first place, an Advocate who is qualified to be a Judge of the High Court is an Advocate who by implication is qualified to perform not only the Judicial Duties but the Administrative functions which a High Court Judge is expected to discharge. Secondly, whether an Advocate applying for recruitment to the Administrative Tribunal has sufficient administrative potential can be examined and judged during the process of selection. We, therefore, do not propose to interfere with the observations made by Bhagwati, CJI in his Judgment."

1. 1987 (1) SCALE 1317.



Amendment of Sections 7, 7a and 7b of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 making advocates eligible to man Labour Court and Industrial Tribunal Back




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