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Tribunals in India are set up in order to deliver quick and affordable pronouncement for various disputes. Tribunals in India were established in the year 1985. Originally tribunals were not a part of the Indian Constitution. In other words, tribunals are also called quasi judicial institutions. They are formed to resolve cases relating to taxes, administrative issues etc.
Tribunals have various functions including announcing administrative decisions, analyzing and evaluating existing administrative decisions, adjudication of disputes etc.In general tribunals can be a person or an institution who has the authority to decide.
In this article we will discuss the various tribunals in India, types of tribunals and their roles. Read the complete article to know about tribunals.
Tribunals in India – Overview
We all know that there are countless cases pending their hearing in the judicial courts. Hence tribunals are formed under various statutes. Hence tribunals can avoid the usual route of courts to settle various issues.
This facility of settling issues by institutions other than court was not here in our constitution. Tribunals came into effect in the constitution of India by the 42nd Amendment Act. This amendment was brought in by the recommendation from Swaran Singh Committee. The 42nd Amendment act was introduced in 1985. Some tribunals are government agencies such as boards. They can take decisions as granted to them by law.
The 42nd amendment has given the constitution of India the article 323 A and 323 B. Article 323 A is for administrative tribunals. Article 323 B is for other tribunals.
Under the article 323 A disputes relating to recruitment and service of people in the public service sector can be resolved. This article can be established only by the parliament. Tribunals falling under article 323 B can be established by both the parliament and state legislatures.
Under article 323 A there is only one tribunal for the center and one tribunal for one state or more states. Whereas hierarchy of tribunals could be established under article 323 B.
Under article 323 B tribunals are established to solve disputes relating to land reforms, tax, import, export, rent, tenancy issues, foreign exchange, election to the parliament and state legislatures, ceiling on urban property etc.
Types Of Tribunals in India
The origin of administrative tribunals are statutory in nature. That means these tribunals are regulated by law. These tribunals have certain but not all features of the court. Administrative tribunals can demand the presence of witnesses. They are also permitted to make witnesses take oaths, submit documents etc. Although the administrative tribunals are allowed to make jurisdictions, writs of prohibition can still be issued against these tribunals.
These tribunals are flexible and process is fast as compared to courts. They are also a lot cheaper. The procedures that these tribunals follow are easy to understand. They follow the principle of natural justice. These tribunals take fair and impartial decisions. Even for the common mass it won’t be difficult to follow the procedures of administrative tribunals.
We have seen the advantages of administrative tribunals. As we say every coin has two sides. There are certain disadvantages too. Ideally law cannot be exercised by individuals or institutions. Hence these tribunals do not abide by the rule of law. They do not have a uniform code of conduct. Expertise of the individuals or institutions handling tribunals won’t be as good as those in the courts.
There are also certain challenges that tribunals face. They include, burdening the courts when disputes cant be settled. The Chandra Kumar Case in 1997 is an example. Lack of proper infrastructure. Certain judicial control needs to be exercised over tribunals in order to obey rule of law. Tribunals can also be subject to the influence of executives.
Armed Force Tribunals
- These are military tribunals
- They are established under the Armed force tribunal Act. This act was passed in the year 2007
- Armed fore tribunals settle conflicts of the commission.
- They also settle disputes arising due to emoluments, appointments and service provided to the army personnels
- Location of the principal bench of Armed force tribunals is at New Delhi
- AFT’s also has regional benches
Water Disputes Tribunals
- These tribunals are established between the states of India. They are established to settle conflicts between the states regarding the sharing and usage of water flowing in the rivers between various states.
National Green Tribunal
- Formation of National Green Tribunal took place in the year 2010
- These tribunals came into effect for solving disputes arising due to environment conservation, forest and natural resources.
Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT)
- This tribunal was established in 1941
- They deal with pleas under the direct taxes act
- Hearings made by ITAT tribunals are usually final. Appeals can be made only if a considerable question of law arises to resolve.
- There are 63 benches or Income tax pop tribunal
Difference between Courts and Tribunals
|Follows the traditional judicial system||Agency that is created by a statute|
|They can try cases of all civil suits||Formed to adjudicate cases of a particular kind|
|Judges of the court are not dependent on the executives||Members of the tribunal their tenure, terms, services etc are based on the executives|
|Judges residing in the court has to be trained in law||Officers may or may not be trained in law|
|Judges are impartial and will not be a matter of dispute||Judges could be a matter of the dispute|
|Works on the procedure of evidence||Adheres to the principle of natural justice|
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