NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to extend the term of three members in the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) until all seven vacancies are filled up.
A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra, while refusing to give any relief said, “We can’t extend tenure like this. There are so many vacancies in the Supreme Court too. Should we extend the term of judges here too?”
The inordinate delay in filling up the vacancies at the top consumer body is because of the narrowing down of the criteria of short-listing of applicants by the government. As per the norms, only former government officials will be considered. NCDRC has 11 members and a president. The government had advertised vacancy of the president and seven members out of which three are non-judicial members.
According to the notification issued last year, applicants for non-judicial members must have 20 years’ experience in economics, business, commerce, law, finance, public administration and management.
The SC extended the tenure of president and other members of NCDRC twice in the past six months due to delay in completion of the selection process.
Recently Justice R K Agrawal, who retired from the SC barely four weeks ago, was appointed as the new NCDRC president. However, he is yet to take over. The increasing vacancy has led to the rise in the average period between two hearings in the NCDRC, which increased to 94 days this year against 81 days in 2015.