The Indian Judiciary is famous in the world for its supreme power; it is independent of legislative and executive and is divided into three branches, i.e., Supreme Court, High Courts, and district courts.
The Indian Judiciary not only acts to the complaint and cases register but also enjoys its judicial activity in the form of Public Interest Litigation (PIL), writs, tribunals, etc. Let’s understand the role of Tribunals in the Indian Judiciary.
What are the Tribunals?
Tribunal is a quasi-judicial institution. A tribunal may be defined as a person and institute that has the authority to judge or determine claims and disputes. They are used to solve administrative disputes and claims.
Origin of Tribunals
The word Tribunal is derived from ‘Tribune.’ The meaning of Tribune is ‘Magistrates of the Classical Roman Republic.’ Initially, the Constitution of India didn’t consist of any provision related to tribunals.
But, the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 introduced Articles 323 A and 323 B that deal with tribunals.
Types of Tribunals
Broadly, tribunals are classified into two categories:
- Administrative Tribunals
- Other Tribunals
Article 323-A of the Indian Constitution empowers administrative tribunals. These tribunals solve the disputes related to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to the centre and state public services, local bodies, and other public authorities. An act was passed in 1985, the Administrative Tribunals Act. This act empowers the government to give decisions related to administrative tribunals.
The administrative tribunals are further divided into two types:
- Central Administrative Tribunals
- State Administrative Tribunals
Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)
The CAT exercises adjudication power in relation to recruitment and conditions of all-India services, the Central civil services, civil posts, and civilian employees of defense services.
The principal bench of CAT is in Delhi and was set up in 1985. At present, there are 17 regular benches in India. A tribunal consists of a chairman and 65 other members. Each member is given the status of Judge. The duration of a member is 5 years or until they attain 65 years of age(in the case of chairman, maximum age is 62 years). The CAT need not follow the procedure mentioned in the Civil Procedure Code of 1908.
An applicant can make his complaint registered through the tribunal with an application of ₹50 at any high court and further at the Supreme court.
State Administrative Tribunals
Under this rule, the central government can establish State Administrative Tribunals on specific demands of the state government. Till 2016, State Administrative Tribunals have been established in 9 states.
SAT exercises original jurisdiction power in relation to recruitment and conditions of all state services.
What is the JAT?
JAT stands for Joint Administrative Tribunal set up administrative tribunals for two or more states
Tribunals for other matters
Article 323 B empower union and state government to establish tribunals for other than administrative matter
These matters include:
- Land reforms
- Foreign exchange
- Import and Export Taxation
- Industrial and labour
- Elections to Parliament and state legislature
- Food stuff
- Ceiling on urban property
- Rent and tenancy rights
Difference between Article 323 A and 323 B
- Tribunals under Article 323 A can be issued by the Union Government only. Article 323 B can be issued by both the union and state Legislature.
- Article 323 A consists of Administrative Tribunals, while Article 323 B consists of other tribunals.
- Only one tribunal can be issued under Article 3234 for each state and union, but there are no such rules for Article 323 B.
Need for Tribunals in the Indian system
- To meet the blunder caused by various pending cases in different courts.
- To deliver judicial statements and decisions at easy procedures and easy cost.
Examples of Tribunals in the Indian System
Following are the examples of tribunals with their establishment year.
- Water Disputes Tribunal (1956)
- Armed Force Tribunal (2007)
- National Green Tribunal (1995)
- Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (1961)
A Way Forward
The tribunals opened a new chapter in the book of the Indian Judiciary. They are renowned for providing speedy and inexpensive justice. As they don’t follow the procedure of the Civil Service Code, the entire process of jurisdiction is quite simple. The administrative tribunal provides facilities to the aggrieved civil servant, while the other tribunals make it simple to resolve the inter-state and other issues. The tribunals strengthen the pillar of the Indian Judiciary by taking judicial decisions for civil servants of government jobs and other armed offices.
This system of tribunals is a unique feature of the Indian constitution. This can be further improved by providing more power to the tribunal bench and including more subjects. The mechanism of the Indian Judiciary is a lengthy process, as it follows ethnic principles and codes. Thus, adding more topics under tribunals will cut off the list of pending cases from other courts.