Sunday, July 20, 2014

Concept of Administrative Tribunals in India - (Article 323A & 323B) Constitution of India

The 42nd Amendment Act, 1976 has inserted Part 14 A in the Constitution of India. This part is entitled as 'Tribunals' and consists of only two Articles - 323A & 323B.

Article 323A deals with administrative tribunals.
Article 323B deals with tribunals for other matters.

Administrative Tribunals (Covered under Article 323A of the Constitution of India) -

It authorizes Parliament to set up administrative tribunals for the purpose of settling disputes and complaints involving civil services. It also authorizes Parliament to establish an administrative tribunal for the Union and a separate administrative tribunal for each State or for two or more States, specify the jurisdiction, powers and authority of the tribunals.

Parliament passed the Administrative Tribunal Act in 1985, providing for setting up of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) for the Union including the All India Services and the State Administrative Tribunals (SAT) for the States. The Supreme Court or High Court may grant a writ of Certiorari if a tribunal's decision infringes a Fundamental Right. A tribunal can be checked by a High Court for exceeding its jurisdiction or if its order is contrary to natural justice. The Supreme Court may grant special leave to appeal from any decision made by a tribunal in extraordinary circumstances.
The Chairman and other members of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) & State Administrative Tribunals (SAT) are appointed after consultation with the Chief Justice of India by the President. The members of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) & State Administrative Tribunals (SAT) are drawn from the judges of the High Court and from the prestigious Civil Services of India. The Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Central Administrative Tribunal enjoys prestige and status which is equivalent to that of a High Court Judge and they retire at the age of 65 years in contrast with the retirement age of High Court Judges being 62 years. The retirement age of other members, however, is 62 and they are drawn from the administration and judiciary department of India. The Chairman must be a High Court judge, who has either retired or is currently serving as a High Court Judge. The post of Chairman of administrative tribunal can also be offered to the Vice Chairman of administrative tribunal, who has completed at least two years of service.

The following categories of employees are exempted from the purview of Administrative Tribunals-

1. Employees of the Supreme Court and the High Court.
2. Armed Forces Personnels.
3. Employees of the Secretariat of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

Point to Note: By notification, the service matter related to the employees of the PSU (Public Sector Undertakings) can be brought under the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) & State Administrative Tribunals (SAT) as the case may be.

Tribunals for other matters (Covered under Article 323B of the Constitution of India) - 

Under Article 323B of the Constitution of India, Parliament and the State Legislature are authorized to provide for the establishment of tribunals for the adjudication of disputes relating to the following matters - 

1. Taxation
2. Foreign Exchange: Import as well as Export
3. Industrial and Labour Disputes
4. Land Reforms
5. Ceiling on Urban Property
6. Elections to Parliament or State Legislatures
7. Production, procurement and distribution of foodstuffs.
8. Rent and tenancy issues

Thus going by the above topics of adjudication that have to be done by tribunals formed specially for these purposes gives us an idea that the concept of tribunals in India has been introduced in order to free our already excessively burdened Judiciary in the form of Sessions Court, District Court, High Court and Supreme Court. Introduction of Tribunals will also streamline and fasten the process of decision making in India as some of the burden of the Judiciary has been diverted to the tribunals made specially for specific purposes.

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