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Centre says advocates with 10 years experience can be appointed as Tribunal members

The amended Rules were notified by the Union Finance Ministry on June 30, and has come into force from then. As per the amended Rules, Search-cum-Selection Committee means It referred to in sub-section (3) of section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017.

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The Central Government enabled appointments of Advocates with ten years experience as Judicial members of various Tribunals while amending the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2020.

The amended Rules were notified by the Union Finance Ministry on June 30, and has come into force from then.

Search-cum-Selection Committee-

As per the amended Rules, Search-cum-Selection Committee means the Search-cum-Selection Committee referred to in sub-section (3) of section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017.

House Rent Allowance Rule Amended-

The Chairman, Chairperson, President, Vice Chairman, Vice Chairperson or Vice President shall have option to avail of accommodation to be provided by the Central Government as per the rules for the time being in force or entitled to house rent allowance subject to a limit of One lakh fifty thousand rupees per month and the Presiding Offices and Members shall have option to avail of accommodation to be provided by the Central Government as per the rules for the time being in force or entitled to house rent allowance subject to a limit of One lakh twenty-five thousand rupees per month.

Earlier, the Apex Court had observed that the exclusion of Advocates in 10 out of 19 tribunals, for consideration as judicial members is contrary to the judgments in Union of India v. Madras Bar Association (2010) and Madras Bar Association v. Union of India.

The Court is of the view that, since the qualification for an Advocate of a High Court for appointment as a Judge of a High Court is only 10 years, the experience at the bar should be on the same lines for being considered for appointment as a judicial member of a Tribunal.

According to the amendment the qualification for appointment of the Chairman, Chairperson, President, Vice-Chairman, Vice- Chairperson, Vice-President, Presiding Officer, Accountant Member, Administrative Member, Judicial Member, Expert Member, Law Member, Revenue Member, Technical Member or Member of the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal or, as the case may be, Authority shall be such as specified in column (3) of the Schedule annexed to these
rules.

The qualifications required for advocates to be members of tribunals are given below.

  1. Income-tax Appellate Tribunal under the Income tax Act, 1961

A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a Judicial Member, unless,–– (a) he has, for a combined period of ten years, been a District Judge and Additional District Judge; or (b) he has been a member of the Indian Legal Service with ten years of experience in litigation and has held a post of Additional Secretary or any equivalent or higher post for two years; or (c) he has been an advocate for ten years with substantial experience in litigation under Income-tax laws in Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, High Court or Supreme Court.

  1. Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal under the Customs Act, 1962

A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a Judicial Member, unless, — (a) he has, for a combined period of ten years, been a District Judge and Additional District Judge; or (b) he has been a member of the Indian Legal Service with ten years of experience in litigation and has held a post of Additional Secretary or any equivalent or higher post for two years; or (c) he has been an advocate for ten years with substantial experience in litigation under indirect tax laws in Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal, High Court or Supreme Court.

  1. Central Administrative Tribunal under the Administrative Tribunal Act 1985

A person shall not be qualified for appointment,– (a) as a Judicial Member, unless he,– (i) is, or has been, a Judge of a High Court; or (ii) has, for one year, held the post of Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Legal Affairs or the Legislative Department including Member –Secretary, Law Commission of India; or (iii) has, for two years, held a post of Additional Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Legal Affairs or Legislative Department; or (iv) has, for a combined period of ten years, been a District Judge and Additional District Judge; or (v) has, for ten years, been an advocate with substantial experience in litigation in service matters in Central Administrative Tribunal, Armed Forces Tribunal, High Court or Supreme Court.

  1. Railway Claims Tribunal under the Railway Claims Tribunal Act 1987

(a) is, or has been, a Judge of a High Court; or (b) has, for a combined period of ten years, been a District Judge and Additional District Judge; or (c) has been an advocate for ten years with substantial experience in litigation in claim settlements pertaining to damage to life and property.

  1. Securities Appellate Tribunal under the Securities Exchange Board of India Act 1992

(i) is, or has been, a Judge of a High Court; or (ii) has been an advocate for ten years with substantial experience in litigation in matters relating to financial sector before Securities Exchange Board of India, Securities Appellate Tribunal, High Court or Supreme Court.

  1. Debts Recovery Appellate Tribunal (DRAT) – (b) member of the Indian Legal Service with ten years of experience in litigation and has held a post of Additional Secretary or any equivalent or any higher post for two years;
  2. National Company Law Appellate Tribunal under the Companies Act, 2013

(a) is or has been a Judge of a High Court; or (b) is a Judicial Member of the National Company Law Tribunal for five years; or (c) has been an advocate for ten years with substantial experience in litigation in matters relating to company affairs before National Company Law Tribunal, National Company Law Appellate Tribunal, High Court or Supreme Court.

  1. Appellate Tribunal for Electricity under the Electricity Act, 2003

(a) is, or has been, a Judge of a High Court; or (b) has, for a combined period of ten years, been a District Judge and Additional District Judge; or (c) has been an advocate for ten years with substantial experience in litigation in matters relating to power sector before Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, State Electricity Regulatory Commission, Appellate Tribunal for Electricity, High Court or Supreme Court.

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  1. Armed Forces Tribunal under the Armed forces Act, 2007

(a) is, or has been, a Judge of a High Court; or (b) has, for ten years, been an advocate with substantial experience in litigation in service matters in Central Administrative Tribunal , Armed Forces Tribunal, High Court or Supreme Court.

  1. National Green Tribunal under the National green Tribunal Act, 2010

(a) is, or has been, a Judge of a High Court; or (b) has, for a combined period of ten years, been a District Judge and Additional District Judge; or (c)has, for ten years, been an advocate with substantial experience in litigation in matters relating to environment and forest in National Green Tribunal, High Court or Supreme Court.

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