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CJI Chandrachud Calls for Urgent Filling of SAT Vacancies Amid Rising Financial Disputes

Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud emphasized the urgent need to fill vacancies in the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) due to the surge in financial and commercial disputes

Speaking on Thursday, he highlighted the significant increase in appeals filed before the SAT, attributing it to the growing number of market participants and financial transactions.

Rising Appeals and Increased Workload

CJI Chandrachud noted the manifold increase in appeals submitted to the SAT, driven by regulatory non-compliance, market conduct issues, corporate governance disputes, and shareholder concerns. He stressed that the vacancies in SAT must be addressed promptly to ensure the tribunal operates effectively and at full capacity.

Proposal for Additional Benches

To handle the escalating caseload, CJI Chandrachud suggested the establishment of additional SAT Benches. “The Securities and Exchange Board of India Act (SEBI Act) permits the creation of multiple SAT benches. It is worth considering the proposal to equip the tribunal with additional benches and improved infrastructure,” he remarked.

Emphasis on Virtual Hearings

Given that SAT currently has a bench only in Mumbai, CJI Chandrachud underscored the importance of providing virtual hearings as a right. “A tribunal with national jurisdiction must have digital resources to allow lawyers from different regions to appear before it easily and effectively,” he said.

Inauguration of New SAT Premises

The CJI was addressing the gathering at the inauguration of SAT’s new premises in Mumbai. He shared insights into the meticulous process of selecting the SAT chairperson, highlighting that the decision involved high-level government deliberations and considerations of key economic functions.

Role of SAT in Financial Regulation

CJI Chandrachud elaborated on the crucial role played by SAT in regulating financial markets. He likened the tribunal to a referee ensuring all stakeholders in the financial sector adhere to the rules. He praised the tribunal for its deep understanding of law, commercial realities, and the complexities of capital markets.

Recognition of SAT’s Expertise

The CJI commended the expertise and professionalism exhibited by the SAT’s Bar and Bench. He noted that the Supreme Court, which hears statutory appeals from SAT, has consistently observed the tribunal’s judgments reflect a profound grasp of both legal principles and the nuances of the financial markets.

Presence of Bombay High Court Chief Justice

The event was also attended by Bombay High Court Chief Justice DK Upadhyay, underscoring the significance of the occasion and the collaborative efforts to enhance the effectiveness of the SAT.

By ensuring these steps, CJI Chandrachud aims to enhance the SAT’s capacity to handle the increasing volume of financial disputes efficiently and uphold the integrity of financial market regulations.

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