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Clouds hover over Finance Act

Section 184 empowers the union government to make rules to provide for qualifications, appointment, term of office, salary, allowances, resignation, removal and other terms and condition of service of chairpersons and members of several other tribunals and appellate tribunals.

Congress MP Jairam Ramesh moved a petition in Supreme Court that provisions of the Finance Act, 2017 which modifies the terms of appointment and functioning in various statutory tribunals, including the National Green Tribunal, amounted to a dilution of judicial independence and is a threat to the Constitution.

The Supreme court in response has issued notices to the Ministries of finance, law and justice, environment, parliamentary affairs, the Cabinet Secretariat and the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and has sought government response on Congress MP petition.

Finance Act has merged autonomous tribunals with other tribunals, and gave the government the power to appoint and remove the members in another 17 such bodies. This poses a conflict of interest in cases where the government itself is a litigant.

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