Are Tribunals A Panacea For Judicial Efficiency Abstract?
“Tribunal implies a set or a bench upon which judge or judges sit and adjudicate disputes between the parties and exercise judicial powers as distinguished from simply administrative responsibilities,” according to the dictionary. In the constitution or any other piece of legislation, the word “Tribunal” is not defined.
However, the following instances are where courts have defined the term:
Raghuraj Singh v. Durga Shankar Mehta is a case. The Supreme Court used the following definition of the tribunal:
The term “Tribunal” as used in Article 136 does not mean “Court,” but rather encompasses all adjudicating bodies as long as they are established by the state and have been given judicial rather than administrative or executive powers.
According to M P Jain, when it comes to how tribunals operate, they are not required to adhere to any set protocol as specified by the Civil Procedure Code and the India Evidence Act of 1872, but rather, they must uphold the principles of Natural Justice.
The court stated in Bharat Bank Ltd v/s Employees Bharat Bank Ltd. that tribunals are adjudicating bodies that resolve disputes between the parties and exercise judicial rather than administrative responsibilities.
The tribunals were created to resolve disputes quickly and affordably and to lighten the strain on the courts. Due to its slowness, expense, complexity, and formalistic nature, the traditional court system was found to be insufficient to resolve the issues.
In India, some examples of tribunals are the Industrial Tribunals, Railway Rates Tribunal, Companies Tribunals, Central Administrative Tribunals, Election Tribunals, etc.
The Government of India established an Administrative Reforms Commission in 1967 to advise on the appropriate locations for tribunal establishment. The Commission suggested creating tribunals in the following areas, specifically:
- Service issues and employee disputes involving the State
- Orders under the Motor Vehicles Act, Central Exercise, Sales Tax, and Orders of Assessment on Adjudication Under Customs.
However, the 42nd (Amendment) Act, 1976, which contained Articles 323A and 323B, gave the Tribunals Constitutional Status by allowing Parliament to establish administrative and other Tribunals to decide and adjudicate the topics specifically covered therein.
These Tribunals are covered in Part XIV-A, which consists of two Articles 323A and 323B.
In accordance with Article 323A, disputes and complaints about the hiring and working conditions of individuals assigned to public offices and positions in connection with the operations of the Union, a State, a local government, or another authority operating on Indian territory will be resolved.
Article 323b Empowers The Parliament Or State Legislature To Set Up Tribunals For The Following Matters:
- Levy, assessment, collection, and enforcement of any tax.
- foreign exchange, import, and export across customs frontiers.
- Industrial and labor disputes.
- Matters connected with land reforms are covered under Article 31-A;
- Ceiling on the Urban property;
- Elections to either House of Parliament or Legislatures of the States and;
- Production, procurement, supply, and distribution of foodstuffs or other essential goods
Judicial Review Of Decisions Of Tribunals
If the privilege is not granted by the pertinent statute, no appeal, revision, or reference against the judgment of any Tribunal may be maintained. Provisions can also be enacted to remove the civil court’s jurisdiction, and the judgment issued by these Tribunals will be regarded as binding.
However, if the Tribunal has:-
- Acted without jurisdiction or
- Failed to exercise jurisdiction or
- The order passed by the Tribunal arbitrary or malafide or
- Not observing the principles of natural justice or
- Made error apparent on the face of record or
- Made an order which is ultra vires of the act
Then the same can be set aside by the High Court or Supreme Court.
In the area of conflict resolution, the Tribunals have a significant impact. Tribunals operate differently from courts, both in terms of the appointment process and the procedures used. The Indian Evidence Act and the Civil Method Code do not require the Tribunals to adopt any consistent procedure; instead, they must adhere to the Natural Justice principles. However, they continue to work toward the same goal as the courts, namely to impart and administer justice. Hence, according to me, tribunals are a panacea for judicial efficiency.
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