Delhi HC issues notice to Centre on PIL seeking appointments in Settlement Commission under Central Excise Act

New Delhi [India], April 7 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking direction to the Centre Government to make appropriate appointments in various benches of the Settlement Commission as required under the Central Excise Act.

The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla on Thursday while issuing the notice to the Union of India observed that situation of non-appointment of members in the Settlement commission is alarming as there is no member in any of the benches for a long time except Chairman at Delhi.

The Court also recorded the legal provisions in this respect and directed the Union of India to file a response within 2 weeks considering the urgency involved. The matter is next listed on May 2.

The Petitioner Yashpal Singh, practising advocate stated that he has recently come to know that there is no quorum or in fact no member on any of the benches of the settlement commission for the last few months. There is only a Chairman in Delhi for a long period, giving rise to a situation wherein applications of the applicants may abate for no fault on part of such applicants.

Advocates Pallavi Sharma and Advocates Ashu Chaudhary for petitioners also raised the issue of pending applications which face the risk of abating, while referring to the reply received under the RTI Act which showed that 193 applications are pending. The lawyers also stated that this is leading to an increase in the pendency of applications and also the risk of Applications abating for no fault of applicants.

It stated that the respondents, being the Government of India are entrusted with the duty to appoint the appropriate persons on the Tribunals/Commissions to ensure that legal recourse is available to the citizens and they do not suffer without any fault on their part.

“Once the legislature provides for the establishment of a Tribunal/Commission, it is the duty of Respondents to ensure that it works smoothly and non-appointment of members for a long period shows callous attitude of the respondents in appointments,” the plea read.

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Source: ANI