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In a suo motu petition on appointment of judicial members in the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said that Justice Rajendra Menon, retired Chief Justice of Delhi High Court has been recommended the successor to incumbent Chairperson Justice Virender Singh.

Court was informed that there are 14 vacancies in AFT insofar as judicial members are concerned and 12 vacancies with respect to administrative members.

Attorney General K K Venugopal asked the Supreme Court to defer the appointment of the Tribunal members to a later date since the provisions of the Finance Act governing the appointment were under challenge. Attorney General said there could be confusion if the Act or Rules are later struck down by the court in that case.

CJI Gogoi however rejected the contention. He told Attorney General K K Venugopal that the appointment should be done at the earliest. Venugopal then reassured the Supreme Court that the Appointments Committee of the Central Government would clear the name of Justice Menon.

The Principal Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal in Delhi consists of four members including the current Chairperson Justice Virender Singh. Appointed on 3rd January, 2017, Justice Virender Singh is due to retire on 6th October 2019.

Justice Rajendra Menon who started practicing law in 1982 was the Standing Counsel for Central Government from 1991 till his elevation to Bench. He was also appointed as the Welfare Commissioner for the Bhopal Gas Victims Compensation Commission during the period December 2010 to March 2015. He served as the Acting Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court from 2016 to 2017. He also served as Patna High Court Chief Justice before being sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court on August 9, 2018. Justice Rajendra Menon retired from Delhi High Court on 6th June 2019.

–India Legal Bureau

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