SC seeks Centre’s response on vacant VP’s posts in I-T tribunals

scNew Delhi, (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Central government on a PIL seeking filling up of the vacancies of vice presidents (VPs) in the Income Tax Appellate Tribunals (ITAT) across the country.

These positions have been lying vacant for the last two years across the country, which could adversely affect their functioning, the PIL stated.

Issuing notice on a public interest suit by one Akshay Pundir, a bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud gave the central government four weeks to respond.

Advocate Sanjeeb Panigrahi, who had moved the court on behalf of Pundir, said that eight out of 10 positions of vice president of the ITAT are vacant and despite recommendation of names by former Chief Justice T.S. Thakur in 2014, the slots have not yet been filled.

“The government is not taking steps to appoint the president, nor is it clearing the names of vice presidents. Therefore, a chaos will arise in business circles if no person would be appointed as president before the vacancy arises,” said the petition.

Such large number of vacancies is playing havoc with the litigations involving tax cases, the PIL petition said.

“It is for the first time for the reasons best known to the government that the appointment of president and vice presidents in different benches of ITAT has been neglected, which has brought these tribunals to the stage of grinding halt.

No steps from the government to fill these vacant posts will lead to a chaos in business circles.

The PIL says that the incumbent president of ITAT is set to retire on February 17, 2017, and there appears no movement to select a person to succeed him.

Except for two vice presidents working in Delhi and Hyderabad, others eight benches are awaiting their vice presidents, it added.

Medaram Jathara

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