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Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance 2021

Topics: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021:


Context:

The President of India has promulgated the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021.

  • The proposed changes are based on the directions issued by the Supreme Court last year in the Madras Bar Association case.

Key changes:

  • The ordinance seeks to dissolve certain existing appellate bodies and transfer their functions to other existing judicial bodies.
  • It seeks to empower the Central Government to make rules for qualifications, appointment, term of office, salaries and allowances, resignation, removal and other terms and conditions of service of Members of Tribunals.
  • It provides that the Chairperson and Members of the Tribunals will be appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of a Search-cum-Selection Committee.
  • It also provides the composition of the Committee, to be headed by the Chief Justice of India or a Judge of Supreme Court nominated by him.
  • Tenure: Chairperson of a Tribunal shall hold office for a term of 4 years or till he attains the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier. Other Members of a Tribunal shall hold office for a term of 4 years or till he attains the age of 67 years, whichever is earlier.

The Ordinance omits following Tribunals/ Appellate Authorities from the purview of Finance Act:

  1. Airport Appellate Tribunal established under the Airport Authority of India Act, 1994.
  2. Appellate Board established under the Trade Marks Act, 1999.
  3. Authority for Advance Ruling established under the Income Tax Act, 1961.
  4. Film Certification Appellate Tribunal established under the Cinematograph Act, 1952.

What are tribunals?

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.

Constitutional provisions:

They were not originally a part of the Constitution.

The 42nd Amendment Act introduced these provisions in accordance with the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee.

The Amendment introduced Part XIV-A to the Constitution, which deals with ‘Tribunals’ and contains two articles:

  1. Article 323A deals with Administrative Tribunals. These are quasi-judicial institutions that resolve disputes related to the recruitment and service conditions of persons engaged in public service.
  2. Article 323B deals with tribunals for other subjects such as Taxation, Industrial and labour, Foreign exchange, import and export, Land reforms, Food, Ceiling on urban property, Elections to Parliament and state legislatures, Rent and tenancy rights.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are tribunals?
  2. Constitutional provisions in this regard.
  3. Composition and functions.
  4. Overview of the latest ordinance.

Mains Link:

Are tribunals a panacea for judicial efficiency? Does tribunalisation of justice undermine the principles set in our constitution? Examine.

Sources: PIB.