I am sorry to say but Your Lordships can pass any number of orders but the parliament can say it is not in interest of the country and enact a law,” these words came from the Attorney General KK Venugopal representing the Central government during the hearing of the plea by Madras Bar Association challenging Sections 12 and 13 of the Tribunal Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021 (Ordinance) and Sections 184 and 186(2) of the Finance Act, 2017 as amended by the Ordinance. The bone of contention was that the retrospective effect given to Section 184(11) of Finance Act would override the judgments of the Supreme Court. The aforesaid state by attorney general came as a reply to a question by Justice Hemant , “if you are enacting legislation then are you not nullifying the judgment of this court?” the parliament has no authority to decide which orders of the court should be implemented and which need not to . Order not favouring the Union Government cannot be a matter of legislation as was stated by Justice L Nageshwara Rao expressing the same concern. Senior advocate Datar representing the petitioner Madras Bar Association started this battle (to safeguard independence of Tribunals) in 1986 and its been 36 years and that he is “still fighting for the association”.
After the 2020 judgment of the Supreme Court in Madras Bar Association, the ordinance was promulgated in April 2021, whereby nine central legislations were amended, thereby, abolishing four tribunals.

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Manish Tiwari


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