The Hon'ble Supreme Court vide its order dated September 16, 2020 in the case of In RE: Appointment Of Judicial Members In The Armed Forces Tribunal v. Ministry of Defence & Anr.1, has once again extended the tenure of Justice Manmohan Singh, as Chairperson of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board ('IPAB') for a period of three months from the date of the order. The present order was passed by the Hon'ble Court while hearing a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2020, wherein the Petitioners contended that in view of Rules of 2020, Justice Singh was entitled to continue as IPAB Chairman till January 01, 2020.
It would be pertinent to note here that this is the second time that the Supreme Court has extended the term of Justice Manmohan Singh as Chairman of the IPAB. In December, 2019 the Hon'ble Court had extended the term of Justice Singh for a period of one year while hearing a batch of petitions filed by the International Association for Protection of Intellectual Property, in view of the fact that the post of IPAB Chairman had been lying vacant since September 21, 2019.
- Justice Singh had been appointed as the Chairman of IPAB in July, 2017 for a period of three years. However, it was later notified that as Justice Singh would be attaining the age of superannuation (65 years) in September, 2019 his term as IPAB Chairman would come to an end in September, 2019.
- The International Association for Protection of Intellectual Property in their petition before the Hon'ble Court contended that if Justice Singh retired from the post then the position of IPAB, Chairman would become vacant and in turn would cause a lot of hardships to litigants. Considering the Association's plea, the Supreme Court in December last year further extended the term of Justice Singh for a period of one year from the date of his superannuation i.e. till September 21, 2020.
- Thereafter, in March 2020, the Central Government also notified that Justice Manmohan Singh would continue to serve as IPAB's Chairman up to September 21, 2020, or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
- And now on September 16, 2020, the Apex Court has further extended his term for a period of three months from the date of the order.
Justice Manmohan Singh is considered a legend for his remarkable judgments in various field of Intellectual Property Law. Thus, the second extension of the tenure of Justice Singh as a Chairman of IPAB comes as a sigh of relief for litigants whose matters are pending with the IPAB.
1. Writ Petition(s)(Civil) No(s).857/2016
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