The Swaran Singh Committee recommended the establishment of administrative Tribunals as a part of the adjudicative system under the Constitution. The original constitution did not include provisions concerning tribunals.
1976, 42nd Amendment Act: Added a new Part XIV-A (TRIBUNALS) to the constitution.
It consists of 2 articles:
- Article 323A: Provides with the administrative tribunals
- Article 323B: Provides with the tribunals for other issues
Article 323A authorizes the Parliament to provide for the constitution of administrative tribunals. In accomplishing Article 323A, the Parliament passed the Administrative Tribunals Act in 1985.
- Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 empowers the Central government to establish one Central administrative tribunal and the state administrative tribunals
- Administrative tribunals are set up for the adjudication of conflicts concerning appointment and requirements of service of persons selected to public employment of the states, the Centre, local bodies, public corporations, and other kinds of public administrations
- Therefore, Article 323A enables the Parliament to adjudicate disagreements concerning service concerns from the civil courts and the high courts and point it before the administrative tribunals (for providing speedy and economical justice to the discontented public servants)
Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT):
- In 1985, Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) was instituted in India, and the administrative bench is situated in Delhi and following benches in several states
- CAT implements actual jurisdiction in association to an appointment and all assistance matters of public assistants surrounded by it
- Its jurisdiction broadened to the Central civil services, All India Services (AIS), and civil offices under the Centre and civilian staffers of defense services
- But, the officers, members of the defense forces, and secretarial faculty of assembly, and servants of the Supreme Court are not involved in it
Qualification and appointment of CAT members:
- Members are selected from both administrative and judicial streams
- They are selected by the President. The selection of Members in CAT is made based on suggestions of a high-powered selection committee presided by a sitting Judge of the Supreme Court, who the CJI(Chief justice of India) nominates. After getting the concurrence of CJI, appointments are made with the approval of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC)
- It is a multi-member structure
- It consists of a chairperson and members.
- Members of CAT have been provided the significance of judges of High Courts
- At present (2020), the sanctioned strength of the Chairperson is 1, and 65 is the sanctioned strength of the Members
Term of office:
They hold responsibility for five years or until the chairperson obtains the age of 65 years and 62 years in the age of retirement of members, whichever is first.
Note: it is not bound by the code set down in the Civil Procedure Code of 1908. CAT is expressed by the beliefs of naural justice. Appeals against the judgments or orders of the CAT shall lie before the division bench of the concerned high court. In other terms, requests against the decrees of the CAT should be made first in the High Court, i.e., a discontented public servant can’t move toward the Supreme Court promptly.
State Administrative Tribunals:
- The Administrative Tribunals Act of 1985 empowers the Union government to establish the State Administrative Tribunals (SATs) on the specific request of the concerned state governments
- Similar to the CAT, the SATs execute original jurisdiction to appointment and all service related matters of state government employees
- The president selects the chairman and members of the SATs after consultation with the Governor of the state concerned
Joint Administrative Tribunal(JAT):
- Administrative Tribunals Act of 1985 also creates a provision for organizing a JAT for two or more states
- A JAT implements every jurisdiction and power exercisable by the administrative tribunals for such states
- The president appoints the chairman and members of a Joint administrative tribunal after consultation with the Governors of those states
Tribunals for Other Matters Under the provision of Article 323B, the Parliament and the state legislatures are authorized to deliver for the formation of tribunals for the adjudication of disputes relating to other matters such as Foreign exchange, Ceiling on urban property, import and export, Taxation, Land reforms, Foodstuff, and state legislatures, and Elections to Parliament, etc.
Articles 323A and 323B differ in the following three important aspects:
- While Article 323A considers the constitution of tribunals for issues related to public service only, Article 323B assesses the constitution of tribunals for certain other courses
- While tribunals under Article 323A shall be established only by Parliament, the tribunals under Article 323B can be set up both by Parliament and state legislatures associated with the issues falling within their legislative competence
- Under the prerequisite of Article 323A, only one tribunal for the Centre and one for each state or more states can be formed. There’s no concern about the pattern of tribunals, while under Article 323B, a pattern of tribunals may be established
Some important tribunals:
Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT):
- It is a military tribunal in India. It was set up under the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007
- It has offered the power for the adjudication or trial by AFT of objections and conflicts related to the commission, appointments, enrolments, and conditions of employment regarding persons subject to the Air Force Act, 1950, the Army Act, 1950, and the Navy Act, 1957
- Each Bench includes an Administrative Member and a Judicial Member
- The Judicial Members are retired High Court Judges and Administrative Members who are retired members of the Armed Forces having the rank of Major General, or equivalent or above. Judge Advocate General (JAG), who have acquired the appointment for at least one year, are also eligible to be appointed as the Administrative Member
National Green Tribunal (NGT):
The National Environment Tribunal Act, 1995 and National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1997 were found to be inadequate giving rise to the demand for an institution to deal with environmental cases more efficiently and effectively
- In its 186th Report, the Law Commission recommended multi-faceted courts with judicial and technical inputs referring to the practice of environmental courts in New Zealand and Australia
- As a result, National Green Tribunal was formed as a special fast-track, quasi-judicial body comprising judges and environmental experts to ensure expeditious disposal of cases
- In 2010, the NGT (National Green Tribunal) was formed under the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 as an authoritative body
- It was instituted for beneficial and expeditious discarding of cases about environmental protection and protection of forests and other biological resources
- It also certifies the administration of any legal right about the environment and provides relief and compensation for harms to individuals and property
- The Tribunal is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same
- Initially, the NGT is proposed to be set up at five places of sittings and will follow circuit procedure for making itself more accessible
- New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai shall be the other four places of sitting of the Tribunal
Income Tax Appellate Tribunal:
- Income Tax Act, 1961 under Section 252 provides that the Union Government shall constitute an Appellate-Tribunal comprising many Accountant members and Judicial Members as it thinks fit to exercise the powers and functions conferred on the Tribunal by the Act
Tribunals are referred to as set up to provide a faster, less expensive and more informal process for deciding disputes between people. A wide range of tribunals have been established for dealing with disputes in specific areas of the law at both state and federal levels. Disputes in a particular area of law figured out by these specialist judicial bodies. Most tribunal jurisdictions are part of Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.Tribunals normally sit as a panel, incorporating a legally qualified tribunal chairman, as well as panel members with specific areas of expertise.