The Supreme Court heard two special leave petitions filed by the government of India and Solar Power Developers Association (SPDA) regarding a pending anti-dumping investigation.
A special leave petition is filed by an aggrieved party seeking special permission to be heard in the Apex court as an appeal against any order or judgment of any court or tribunal in India.
The Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA), an association of companies engaged in manufacturing solar modules, cells, and glass, had filed a petition with the Director General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) seeking an anti-dumping investigation on the import of solar cells from China, Vietnam, and Thailand.
ISMA had alleged that the dumping of imported solar cells from these countries was causing material injury to the domestic industry and had requested the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to impose an anti-dumping duty.
Following this petition, the Solar Power Developers Association filed a counter-petition with the Delhi High Court to quash the anti-dumping investigation. The Developers Association reasoned that such an investigation would cause harm to the solar power generation industry.
In response to the Solar Power Developers Association petition, the Delhi High Court granted an extension for the submission of feedback and counter-affidavits from the government on this investigation until July 19, 2021.
Meanwhile, the government took an extension of four weeks to file the counter-affidavits in the anti-dumping investigation while simultaneously filing the special leave petitions, which irked the Apex Court.
The government also filed the special leave petition with the apex court based on the contention from ISMA that there could be a possibility of irreparable loss to the solar manufacturing sector. The Apex court acknowledged that if some loss occurred due to the inability of the judicial institution to take up matters, it was a result of an inadequate number of judges. It also felt that due to this reason, it is not feasible for the High Courts to accommodate such cases at an earlier date. The Supreme Court highlighted that it should not be required to step in at such an early stage of the proceeding.
The Supreme Court of India admonished the government for its inability to appoint judges and fill the vacancies in the High Court, despite receiving approval from the Supreme Court collegium for years. This has resulted in the Delhi High Court having less than 50% of the required judges, making early adjudication on important issues almost impossible for the judicial institutions in the country.
On the one hand, the government does not consider it necessary to even file the counter-affidavits while it has time to draft special leave petitions and file them, the Apex Court remarked. “So much for the urgency expressed by the government of India in the present proceedings,” it rebuked.
The Supreme Court later dismissed the special leave petitions.
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