Constitute transport appellate tribunal by March 29: Himachal HC

Acting tough on non-compliance of its order for the constitution of a transport appellate tribunal within one month, the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Friday granted a last opportunity to the state to comply with its direction by March 29.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua said the non-compliance of the order passed by the high court before the next date shall be viewed seriously and appropriate order shall be passed on the next date of hearing on March 29.

The court in its earlier order observed that despite the series of orders passed by the court, the state government has not taken any decision to set up an independent transport appellate tribunal.

The matter has been pending before the court for the past four years. Earlier, the court held that the Law Secretary cannot discharge the quasi-judicial functions of the tribunal and rightly so because for him to preside over the tribunal while simultaneously working as Law Secretary could give rise to conflict of interest because he may have to be in that capacity to deal with the matter involving the interest of the state.

Also, the court observed that the first requirement for the state government would be to notify the constitution of such a number of tribunals, depending upon the workload, as it may deem fit.

Once the tribunal is constituted, it has to be given all the paraphernalia, including building and necessary staff.

Once the regular tribunal is constituted by the government in consultation with the high court, it would be decided by the court on the administrative side as to who should be posted as presiding officer in the tribunal and whether one presiding officer should be given additional charge of another tribunal.

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