Govt to ban ex-judges in tribunals from arbitration | india | Hindustan Times
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Govt to ban ex-judges in tribunals from arbitration

The government is set to impose a ban on former Supreme Court and high court judges appointed as heads and members of various tribunals from providing costly legal advice in the form of arbitration in private disputes, reports Nagendar Sharma.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2010 00:35 IST
Nagendar Sharma

The government is set to impose a ban on former Supreme Court and high court judges appointed as heads and members of various tribunals from providing costly legal advice in the form of arbitration in private disputes.

On directives from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the law ministry has set in motion the process of framing service condition rules for the chairpersons and members of government appointed tribunals.

“Retired Supreme Court and high court judges who are either heads or members of tribunals get the full pay and perks of sitting judges. In principle it is wrong that they earn as arbitrators over and above their salaries,” states the ministry note prepared for the approval of the union cabinet.

There are at least 40 tribunals and appellate authorities set up under various acts, controlled by the central government for deciding disputes related to policy matters and employees rights, concerning various ministries.

T.K. Viswanathan, adviser to the law minister, confirmed the proposal. “We are sending it for the cabinet approval.

So long as former judges are working for tribunals, they should not take up arbitration”.

Several instances of members and heads of tribunals taking up arbitration cases, considered a high paying job, have been brought to the ministry’s notice, said an official.

Arbitrators are private, neutral persons chosen to resolve a dispute outside courts. An arbitrator could be used to settle any non-criminal dispute, and many business contracts make provisions for an arbitrator in the event of a disagreement.

Ministry officials admitted that in the absence of clearly defined rules, many chairpersons and the PMO want to put an end to the practice.

The ministry also proposes to bring all the tribunals under its administrative control, a move opposed by other ministries so far.

“There is a 1995 Supreme Court judgment which says all tribunals should be administratively controlled by the law ministry, we will place this also before the cabinet,” said a senior official.

Initially, the new rules will cover the tribunals and appellate authorities controlled by the central government,
and at a later stage, states will be advised to follow similar rules.

The proposal also aims to bring uniformity in retirement age of chairpersons and members of these tribunals.