SC strikes down minimum age limit of 50 years for appointment as tribunal members: ‘excludes young successful advocates; arbitrary & discriminatory.

With majority of 2:1 SC ruled that the minimum 50 year age limit for the appointment of a range of tribunals member set by the tribunal reforms (rationalization and conditions of service) in 2021 is “arbitrary and discrimination.

The majority consisting of Judge L. Nageshwara Rao and Judge S. Ravindra Bhata believe that the 50 year rule introduced by the ordinance violates previous court guidelines in the Madras Bar 2020 case, which stated that there must be a lawyer with at least 10 years of professional experience.

The judge ruled on a new judicial petition filed by the Madras Bar Association earlier this year to challenge the Judicial Reform Ordinance. Judge Hermant Gupta opposed the majority opinion and rejected the request for an injunction.

This minimal age stipulation changed into delivered in via first proviso to sec 184 (1) of the Finance Act 2017 which changed into introduced via the change effected through the Tribunals Reforms Ordinance surpassed in 2021.

Judge Nageswara Rao considered the clause unconstitutional and wrote in this judgment:

“A minimum working age of 50 will prevent qualified lawyers from applying for appointment. In fact, it is difficult for lawyers to be appointed to work after their term of office”. After the end of the term of office, legal activities will be resumed for 50 years. If they cannot be re-elected for a new term, the conditions of service of civil servants, including appropriate wages and job security; therefore, sec 184 (1), based on the court’s decision, constitutes the principle of decentralization, violation. Therefore, the first condition of sec 184, paragraph 1, was declared unconstitutional because it violated the constitution article 14.

Age restrict to fifty years excludes younger a success advocates from the sector of consideration.

Irregular outcomes of the age restrict of fifty years.

Age restrict ‘definitely picked from a hat’ and has no ‘rational nexus’.

No equivalence among individuals of civil provider and criminal professionals.

Title: Madras Bar Association v. Union of Indian [WPC 502 of 2021]

Citation: LL 2021 SC 296

Bench: Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and S. Ravindra Bhat

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