Model Question and Answers for APSC | How far do you agree with the view that tribunals curtail the jurisdiction of ordinary courts? In view of the above, discuss the constitutional validity and competency of the tribunals in India.
How far do you agree with the view that tribunals curtail the jurisdiction of ordinary courts? In view of the above, discuss the constitutional validity and competency of the tribunals in India.
Ans: The 42nd Amendment Act added Articles 323A (Administrative Tribunals) and 323B, which gave tribunals some of the powers of a court (Tribunals of other matter). In the important L. Chandra Kumar case from 1997, the Supreme Court said that Tribunals set up under either Article 323A or Article 323B of the Constitution are legal. Tribunals like the NGT, NCLAT, and CAT have become good places to get justice.
The Tribunals limit what the regular courts can do:
- As a quasi-judicial body, Tribunals go against the Doctrine of Separation of Powers and dilute the judicial system, which should only be handled by regular courts.
- In the Chandra Kumar case from 1997, the Supreme Court said that Articles 226 and 227 give the High Court (HC) the power to supervise the decisions of all other courts and tribunals. This is an important part of the Constitution's structure. But the decisions of some of the tribunals, like the National Green Tribunal, can still only be appealed to the SC. This means that the HC can't act as a Court of Appeal, which takes away their power to be reviewed by a judge.
- By giving tribunals a direct right to appeal to the SC, the SC has gone from being a constitutional court to just a court of appeals. This has also caused a backlog of cases.
What Tribunals Can Do
- The process is flexible because it doesn't follow the strict rules and evidence trials of courts. Instead, it goes by the principle of natural justice.
- Provide efficiency in giving out justice because it saves money and time.
- Unburdening the judiciary: They have helped take a big load off the judiciary, though there are still ways to appeal.
- Specialization through the help of experts saves time and makes things work better.
Tribunals, on the other hand, are often criticised for things like:
- Appeal: Administrative tribunals were set up so that specialised justice could be given and so that regular courts could handle fewer But appeals from tribunals have always found their way into the main court system.
- High Pendency: Many tribunals also don't have the right infrastructure to work well and do what they were meant to do. This causes high pendency rates and makes it hard to get justice quickly.
- Appointments: Most of the time, the executive is in charge of making appointments to tribunals.
- Functioning: There isn't a lot of information about how tribunals Websites often don't exist, don't work, or aren't up to date.
- Accessibility is low because there aren't many places to go, so getting justice is hard and expensive.
- Even with these problems, tribunals are great tools for getting justice in government and reducing conflicts and disagreements with public officials, who are the key to good governance.
They can be changed through things like:
- Qualifications: In Union of India vs. R. Gandhi (2010), the Supreme Court said that when a court's jurisdiction is transferred to a tribunal, the tribunal's members should have as close to the same rank, capacity, and status as the court.
- Independence: All Tribunals should get their administrative help from the Ministry of Law and Justice. Neither the Tribunals nor its members are allowed to ask for or get help from the Ministries or Departments that sponsor or are in charge of them.
- Accessibility: There must be benches in different parts of tribunals to make them easy to get to. Members should be chosen by a selection committee that is fair and independent.
Tribunals should be changed, taking into account the 272nd Law Commission report on restructuring tribunals and the Supreme Court's decision in the Chandra Kumar case, and put under the control of an independent agency. So, tribunals are meant to work with regular courts, not instead of them.