High Court asks Govt to keep a post vacant in Railway Claims Tribunal

The Centre has been directed by the Delhi High Court to keep a post vacant for a member of the Railway Claims Tribunal on the plea of a former member (judicial) who was not given re-appointment for the position in 2011.

The court also issued notices to the railway board chairman and Railway Claims Tribunal and sought their replies by August 5 on an appeal filed by Rajan Sharma against the single judge’s order rejecting his plea challenging the government’s decision to appoint ABS Naidu as Member (Judicial) of the Tribunal on April 4, 2012.

A bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice Jayant Nath in a recent order had asked the Railway Ministry and also the tribunal to keep one post vacant, if available, till the final outcome of the writ petition filed by Sharma.

Justice Murugesan retired on June 8 as Chief Justice.

Sharma was appointed as Member (Judicial) of the tribunal from March 2005 for five years during which he claimed to have disposed of over 1,100 cases and over 700 miscellaneous applications.

Filing a petition through counsel RK Saini, Sharma said, “Action of the respondent 1 (Ministry of Railways) ignoring him from appointment as member (J) is void, illegal and violation of Article 14, 16 and 21 of the Constitution”.

According to the petition, following an advertisement in May 2011, Sharma had applied for the post and was interviewed by the selection board comprising a Supreme Court judge, chairman of Railway Board and chairman of the tribunal and secretary of Law Ministry.

Claiming that the selection list was approved by the appointment committee of the Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister, Sharma said he was not appointed for the post on the ground that there was no legal provision for re-appointment of a member for the tribunal.

Sharma further said the government ignored his application and appointed Naidu, who was much junior to him.