New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has upheld a single-judge bench`s ruling that a person who has served as a member of the Railway Claims Tribunal would be ineligible for a second term.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice BD Ahmed and Justice Vibhu Bakhru rejected the plea of Rajan Sharma, former member (Judicial), against the previous order turning down his petition challenging the appointment of ABS Naidu as new member and not giving him a second term.
Rajan Sharma had served a five-year term from March 2005 as member (Judicial) and had applied for a second term.
Interpreting the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, the bench said, "There is no ambiguity in the language of clause (c) of Section 10 of the Act...It is expressly provided that a member on ceasing to hold office would be eligible for appointment as a Chairman or Vice Chairman of the Railways Claim Tribunal or as a Chairman, Vice Chairman or Member of any other Tribunal.
"We are unable to read clause (c) of Section 10 the Act in any other manner except to mean that the eligibility of a member to be re-appointed on ceasing to hold office as a member of the Tribunal is restricted to being appointed only as a Vice Chairman or Chairman of the Tribunal and thus the appellant (Sharma) would be ineligible for being re-appointed as a member of the Tribunal for a second term."
In his petition, Sharma said, "Action of the respondent 1 (Ministry of Railways) ignoring him from appointment as Member (J) is void, illegal and violative of Article 14, 16 and 21 of the Constitution."
According to the petitioner, following an advertisement in May 2011, he had applied for the post and was interviewed by the Selection Board comprising a Supreme Court judge, Chairman of Railway Board and Chairman of 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 considered 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.