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Tribunals in India, Objective, Types, Importance & Challenges


Tribunals are quasi-judicial organizations having judicial authority that handle many types of disputes. Conflict resolution can be handled by a number of tribunals, including the Central Administrative Tribunal, the Green Tribunal, the Debt Recovery Tribunal, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, etc. The Tribunals are an important part of Indian Polity which is an important subject in the UPSC Syllabus. Students can also go for UPSC Mock Test to get more accuracy in their preparations.

Tribunals in India Meaning

As previously stated, a tribunal is a partially constitutional entity, sometimes known as a quasi-constitutional body, established to handle a particular subject. The Indian Constitution’s Part XIV-A (14-A) contains provisions for the Tribunals. With the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976, this section was included in the Constitution.

Following the Swarn Singh Committee’s recommendations, the Tribunals were added. The only two articles that makeup tribunals are Articles 323-A and 323-B. The provisions of Article 323-A deal with administrative tribunals, whereas those of Article 323-B deal with tribunals established for other purposes.

Importance of Tribunals in India

Regarding conflict settlement, there has always been a need for the creation of a special organisation. The need for a specialised institution to resolve disputes on particular issues arose as a result of the rise in the number of court cases, which increased the strain on the courts.

Tribunals in India are a crucial component of the Indian legal system because they help the courts deliver decisions on time by lightening their workload. The Tribunals are beneficial since they are committed to resolving disputes in a particular area. This lowers the costs for the system and the people involved.

Types of Tribunals in India

According to Part XIV-A of the Constitution, two types of Tribunals in India are formed.

Administrative Tribunals

It is an Indian military court. It was created in accordance with the 2007 Armed Forces Tribunal Act. The ability to have disputes over commissions, appointments, enlistments, and employment terms involving individuals covered by the Air Force Act of 1950, the Army Act of 1950, and the Navy Act of 1957 decided by the AFT has been made available. A judge and an administrative member make up each bench.

The Administrative Members are retired members of the Armed Forces with the rank of Major General or above, while the Judicial Members are retired High Court Judges. The Administrative Member position may also be filled by a Judge Advocate General (JAG) who has held the position for at least a year.

Tribunals for Other Matters

Part XIV-A of the Indian Constitution contains the provisions pertaining to the Tribunals for Other Matters. Article 323-B gives state governments the authority to create Tribunals in addition to the federal government. For other subjects, the Tribunals in India have comprehensive authority over issues such as taxation, foreign exchange, land reforms, import and export, industrial and labour, state legislatures and parliamentary elections, the cap on urban property, foodstuffs, rent, and tenant rights.

Difference Between Tribunals and Court

Tribunals and courts both deal with resolving arguments between parties that impact the rights of the subjects. Although there are many similarities between courts and tribunals, there are also some variances. The distinctions between tribunals and courts are outlined in the following table.

Courts Tribunals
It is a component of the traditional judicial system, where the State provides the authority. It is an organisation established by statute and endowed with judicial authority.
Unless there is an express or implicit bar, civil courts have the authority to hear any civil lawsuits. It has the authority to hear cases of the kind granted to them by the Statute. They were created to decide situations of a specific type.
Court judges are apart from the executive. The executive has complete control over the length of service, terms of employment, and other circumstances for tribunal members.
The presiding officer in this case has legal training. The presiding officer could or might not have legal training.
The judge must be disinterested in the dispute’s topic and impartial. The tribunal in this case could be a party to the dispute.
All norms of process and evidence must be followed by courts of law. Tribunals must abide by natural justice principles, not civil procedure rules.
Courts can rule on whether a law is valid. The validity of legislation cannot be decided by tribunals.

Tribunals Drawbacks

Tribunals have their own distinct laws and processes that are established by their members, which can occasionally result in a major disregard for the Rule of Law. The majority of tribunals lack the judiciary’s and courts’ level of executive branch independence.

In contrast to regular courts, administrative tribunals lack a uniform code of procedure. A diverse group of people make up the membership of tribunals, including people who may not have any background in or training for judicial procedures, such as administrators and technical heads. They occasionally use expedited processes to handle cases that fall under their purview.

Tribunals Criticism

Since the members of many tribunals (including the ITAT and the National Company Law Tribunal) have been hand-picked by the Executive, the Supreme Court has frequently criticised these bodies as being instruments of the Executive.

No National Tribunals Commission (NTC) was established to oversee tribunals and ensure that they operated consistently. In the L. Chandra Kumar v. Union of India (1997) case, this notion was advanced. More criticism has been levelled as a result of lack of legal expertise and loyalty to the existing administration. The Tribunals’ meetings are frequently held in secret, which could cause problems with transparency.

Tribunals in India UPSC

Tribunals are a crucial kind of extrajudicial organisation because of their numerous benefits. Tribunals provide flexibility in contrast to regular courts, which must follow rigid rules of procedure. They provide quick justice and are less expensive. Even a layperson can easily understand the tribunals’ plain and straightforward process.

Additionally, they provide respite for the regular courts, which are already overloaded with lawsuits. However, some changes must be made to permit its seamless, effective, transparent, and accountable operation. Students can read all the details related to UPSC by visiting the official website of StudyIQ UPSC Online Coaching.

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Tribunals FAQs

What was the purpose of the tribunal?

A tribunal, which is the official ecclesiastical court of the Catholic Church, is established in each diocese by the bishop to assist him in carrying out his responsibility as shepherd of the local Christian community which has been entrusted to him (1983 Code of Canon Law canons 369, 1419).

What are the examples of tribunal court?

Tribunals in India are quasi judicial bodies for settling various administrative and tax-related disputes, including Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT), National Green Tribunal (NGT), Competition Appellate Tribunal.

What is a tribunal court in English?

A tribunal is a special court or committee that is appointed to deal with particular problems.

What is called tribunal?

A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority to judge, adjudicate on, or determine claims or disputes—whether or not it is called a tribunal in its title.

Who started the tribunal?

The Labour government created the Tribunal to hear Māori claims of breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi. It has evolved ever since, adapting to the demands of claimants, government and public.

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