- August 16, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Subject – Polity
Context – The Tribunals Reforms Bill, 2021 was introduced in Lok Sabha by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
- Tribunal is a quasi-judicial institution that is set up to deal with problems such as resolving administrative or tax-related disputes.
- It performs a number of functions like adjudicating disputes, determining rights between contesting parties, making an administrative decision, reviewing an existing administrative decision and so forth.
- A Tribunal, generally, is any person or institution having an authority to judge, adjudicate on, or to determine claims or disputes – whether or not it is called a tribunal in its title.
- Tribunals were not part of the original constitution; it was incorporated in the Indian Constitution by 42nd Amendment Act, 1976.
- Article 323-A deals with Administrative Tribunals.
- Article 323-B deals with tribunals for other matters.
- Under Article 323 B, the Parliament and the state legislatures are authorised to provide for the establishment of tribunals for the adjudication of disputes relating to the following matters:
- Foreign exchange, import and export
- Industrial and labour
- Land reforms
- Ceiling on urban property
- Elections to Parliament and state legislatures
- Food stuff
- Rent and tenancy rights
- Articles 323 A and 323 B differ in the following three aspects:
- While Article 323 A contemplates the establishment of tribunals for public service matters only, Article 323 B contemplates the establishment of tribunals for certain other matters (mentioned above).
- While tribunals under Article 323 A can be established only by Parliament, tribunals under Article 323 B can be established both by Parliament and state legislatures with respect to matters falling within their legislative competence.
- Under Article 323 A, only one tribunal for the Centre and one for each state or two or more states may be established. There is no question of the hierarchy of tribunals, whereas under Article 323 B a hierarchy of tribunals may be created.
Central Administrative Tribunal
- It has jurisdiction to deal with service matters pertaining to the Central Government employees or of any Union Territory, or local or other government under the control of the Government of India, or of a corporation owned or controlled by the Central Government.
- The CAT was set-up on 1 November 1985.
- It has 17 regular benches, 15 of which operate at the principal seats of High Courts and the remaining two at Jaipur and Lucknow.
- These Benches also hold circuit sittings at other seats of High Courts. The tribunal consists of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Members.
- The Members are drawn, both from judicial as well as administrative streams so as to give the Tribunal the benefit of expertise both in legal and administrative spheres.
- The appeals against the orders of an Administrative Tribunal shall lie before the Division Bench of the concerned High Court.
State Administrative Tribunal
- Article 323 B empowers the state legislatures to set up tribunals for various matters like levy, assessment, collection and enforcement of any of the tax matters connected with land reforms covered by Article 31A.
Tribunals Reforms Bill, 2021
- The Tribunals Reforms Bill, 2021 replaces a similar Ordinance promulgated in April 2021 that sought to dissolve eight tribunals that functioned as appellate bodies to hear disputes under various statutes, and transferred their functions to existing judicial forums such as a civil court or a High Court.
- The Bill states that the Chairpersons and Members of the tribunal being abolished shall cease to hold office, and they will be entitled to claim compensation equivalent to three months’ pay and allowances for their premature termination.
- It also proposes changes in the process of appointment of certain other tribunals.
While the Bill provides for uniform pay and rules for the search and selection committees across tribunals, it also provides for removal of tribunal members. It states that the central government shall, on the recommendation of the Search-cum-Selection Committee, remove from office any Chairperson or a Member, who—
(a) has been adjudged as an insolvent; or
(b) has been convicted of an offence which involves moral turpitude; or
(c) has become physically or mentally incapable of acting as such Chairperson or Member; or
(d) has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as such Chairperson or Member; or
(e) has so abused his position as to render his continuance in office prejudicial to the public interest.