N. Bharatvaja Shankar vs. UBS Bedi (Supreme Court)

DATE: (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: April 2, 2012 (Date of publication)

Click here to download the judgement (ubs_bedi_ITAT_ACR_SC.pdf)

Verdict that ITAT President has no power to write ITAT Members’ ACR stayed

In Uttam Bir Singh Bedi vs. UOI, a Judicial Member of the Tribunal filed a Writ Petition to challenge his supersession to the post of Vice President by his junior. He claimed that the supersession was on account of adverse Annual Confidential Reports (“ACRs”) written by the President of the Tribunal which had misguided the high level Selection Committee without the Petitioner being giving an opportunity to represent against the ACR. He claimed that the President of the ITAT had no authority to record the ACRs of the Members. This plea was accepted by the High Court and it was held as the Tribunal is a judicial body, the President, though exercising administrative control over the Benches, had no power to write the ACRs of the Members. It was also held that the the Tribunal had judicial autonomy and the Government could not act like a reviewing authority on the ACRs. It was directed that as the ACRs were illegally recorded by the President and reviewed by the Government, the Selection Committee must reconsider the claim of the Petitioner on merits de hors the ACRs. This verdict was challenged by a Vice President of the Tribunal before the Supreme Court. HELD by the Supreme Court at the interim stage:

Put up for final disposal on October 03, 2012. During the pendency of the special leave petition, the direction of the High Court in paragraph 24 of the impugned judgment shall remain stayed.

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