The Supreme court said that KK Venugopal solved the problem of the early removal of Justice Cheema from his post and reinstated again him as chairperson of NCLAT till 20 September.

By – Rhytham Jain

KK Venugopal, the attorney general of India, informed the supreme court that the Union Government of India is ready to reappoint Justice Ashok Iqbal Singh Cheema as Acting Chairperson of NCLAT till his pre-decided retirement date 20th of September to enable him to pronounce the pending judgments which he decided to pronounce in the upcoming week starting from 13th.  This reappointment of Justice Cheema came after when the supreme court gave one day to Union Government to decided this matter, when he filled a writ petition in Supreme court for aggrieved by the order of Central government of his early termination from his post which was expected to last till the date of 20 September but it originally ended on 14th.

The attorney general said that the termination orders were passed in accordance with the newly formed Tribunal reforms act of 2021 which fixed the term of NCLAT members as 4 years or 67 years whichever is earlier. Justice Cheema was appointed in NCLAT on 11 September 2017 so his tenure of 4 years has been completed according to the new amendment act of tribunal reforms, 2021. Therefore, he mentioned that the government has the power to issue the termination orders in accordance with the new set of rules. Nonetheless, KK Venugopal informed the honorable court that the Government is ready to continue his period for the period till his retirement date 20 September notionally for Justice Cheema for the purpose of his retiral benefits.

CJI insisted that Justice Cheema, as acting chairperson of NCLAT, should be allowed to hold his job/position as he has reserved judgments in five cases. The bench also informed that it can anytime take the Suo moto case on this newly formed act as it is a matter of friction between the central government and the supreme court because this act consists of the same provisions which were earlier struck down by the supreme court in the Madras Bar association case.

Disposing of the petition, the bench said that the attorney general has solved this problem as he has reinstated Justice Cheema in NCLAT for his remaining tenure.