A Supreme Court judge headed selection panel has recommended the name of three candidates for the appointment of Chairperson of the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL).
According to sources, the three names recommended for the post of APTEL Chairperson are Manjula Chellur, who had earlier served as Chairperson of the tribunal from August 2018 to August 2021 and has now re-applied for the position.
The other two names recommended by the panel are Sanjay Yadav, the former Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court, and R.S. Chauhan, the former Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court.
The panel has sent its recommendation to the government, but the government is yet to make the final selection for the Chairperson’s position.
According to industry experts, the position of the APTEL chairperson remains vacant since August 2021 i.e for seven months now.
Keeping such an important post vacant is not only causing a delay in the decision-making in power sector but also derailing the power sector reforms. Such an important position of a tribunal body needs to be filled at the earliest in order to speed up the decision making process and also for the smooth functioning of the tribunal body.
Last month, the Supreme Court bench headed by the Chief Justice of India had reprimanded the centre for not filling the position of APTEL Chairman. The court had even issued notices to the Centre and Attorney General and sought their response on the matter of the APTEL chairperson’s appointment
Last year in September, there was a standoff between the apex court and the Centre as the latter asserted the right to reject names recommended by Supreme Court judge-led panels for appointments to tribunals
But a bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and L.N. Rao had said that in a democratic country governed by the rule of law under the Constitution, the government cannot say it will not accept these recommendations.
APTEL is working without a full-time chairperson since August 2021. The appellate tribunal is currently working with three members one judicial member and two technical members.
Apart from chairperson, the tribunal is also short of a technical member.