ROJER MATHEW V. SOUTH INDIAN BANK LTD. AND ORS.

FACTS 

1. This case was a combined hearing by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The constitutionality of Part XIV of the Finance Act, 2017, and of the rules framed in consonance of section 184 of the Finance Act was constitutionally challenged before the court. Part XIV of the Finance Act 2017 gave sweeping powers to the Union Government to administer the Tribunals, especially the conditions of service, mode of appointment, the security of tenure, and requisite qualifications of members and presiding officers of various Tribunals. 

2. The first matter was before the Hon’ble High Court of Madras, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 267 of 2012. A three-judge Bench of the Madras High Court took consideration of two landmark judgments, Union of India vs. R. Gandhi, President, Madras Bar Association, and L. Chandra Kumar vs. Union of India. 

3. During the pendency of the aforementioned writ petition, SLP(C) No. 15804/2017 was filed by Rojer Mathew, assailing the final judgment and order of the High Court of Kerala. It was brought to the notice of the Court that the appointments to the Debt Recovery Tribunals did not align with the Constitutional spirit of judicial independence. 

4. The third matter to be taken note of was Writ Petition (Civil) No. 279/2017 where the petitioner, Kudrat Sandhu, has filed a Public Interest Litigation challenging the vires of Part XIV of the Finance Act, 2017 by which the provisions of twenty-five different enactments were amended to effect sweeping changes to the requisite qualifications, method of appointment, terms of office, salaries and allowances, and various other terms and conditions of service of the members and presiding officers of different statutory Tribunals. 

ISSUES

1. Whether the Finance Act satisfies the test of a Money Bill under Article 110 of the Constitution of India? 

2. Whether Section 184 of the Finance Act is unconstitutional on account of excessive delegation of power to the Executive? 

3. Whether Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal, and Other Authorities [Qualifications, Experience and Other Conditions of Service of Members] Rules, 2017 align with the parent enactments and various decisions of the Supreme Court on the functioning of the Tribunal? 

4. Whether direct statutory appeals from Tribunals to the Supreme Court ought to be detoured? 

5. Whether there is a need for amalgamation of existing Tribunals and setting up of Benches? 

HELD 

The court held that the Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017 did not suffer from an excessive delegation of legislative functions as there are adequate principles to guide the framing of delegated legislation, which would include the binding dictums of this Court and thus it rules out the possibility of uncertainty. 

CONCLUSION 

The court referred to the issue and question of Money Bill, as defined under Article 110(1) of the Constitution, and certification accorded by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha in respect of Part-XIV of the Finance Act, 2017 is referred to a larger Bench. The court issued a writ of mandamus to the Ministry of Law and Justice to carry out the ‘Judicial Impact Assessment’ and submit the result of the findings before the competent legislative authority. The Central Government inconsultation with the Law Commission of India or any other expert body shall re-visit the provisions of the statutes referable to the Finance Act, 2017, and place appropriate proposals before the Parliament for consideration of the need to remove direct appeals to the Supreme Court from orders of Tribunals. A decision in this regard by the Union of India shall be taken within six months. 

PRECEDENTS 

1. Madras Bar Association vs Union of India & Anr on 25 September 2014. 

2. Union of India vs R. Gandhi on 11 May 2010. 

3. Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd vs Essar Power Limited on 9 August 2016. 4.

4.Salem Advocate Bar … vs Union of India on 2 August 2005

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

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