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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. The original Constitution did not have rules about tribunals. The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 added a new section, Part XIV-A, to the Constitution called 'Tribunals.' It comprises only two Articles: Article 323A, which addresses administrative tribunals, and Article 323B, which covers tribunals for other issues.

The term ‘Tribunal’ is derived from the word ‘Tribunes’, which means ‘Magistrates of the Classical Roman Republic’.

Tribunal is referred to as the office of the ‘Tribunes’ i.e., a Roman official under the monarchy and the republic with the function of protecting the citizen from arbitrary action by the aristocrat magistrates.

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


TribunalsTribunals

Administrative Tribunals

  • Article 323A provides Parliament with the authority to establish administrative tribunals for resolving disputes related to the recruitment and terms of service of individuals in public positions.

  • The scope of Article 323A includes disputes at the Centre, States, local bodies, public corporations, and other public authorities.

  • The primary aim of Article 323A is to transfer the resolution of service-related disputes from civil courts and high courts to administrative tribunals.

  • In 1985, Parliament enacted the Administrative Tribunals Act, which complements Article 323A.

  • The Administrative Tribunals Act empowers the Central government to create both Central administrative tribunals and state administrative tribunals.

  • This legislative move is a significant step towards ensuring swift and cost-effective justice for public servants who believe they have been wronged.

 Characteristics of Administrative Tribunals Characteristics of Administrative Tribunals

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Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) 

Laxmikanth Summary: Tribunals | Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

Central Administrative Tribunal


  • The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) was established in 1985, headquartered in New Delhi, with additional benches in various states.

  • Currently, there are 19 regular benches, with 17 operating at the principal seats of high courts, and two at Jaipur and Lucknow. These benches also conduct circuit sittings at other high court locations.

  • CAT's jurisdiction covers recruitment and service matters for public servants, including the All-India ServicesCentral civil servicescivil posts under the Centre, and civilian employees of defence services.

  • However, it does not cover members of the defence forces, officers and staff of the Supreme Court, and the secretarial staff of the Parliament. CAT is a multi-member body, initially comprising a Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Members.

  • Presently, CAT consists of a Chairman and Members, with a sanctioned strength of 1 Chairman and 69 Members. Members are drawn from both judicial and administrative streams

  • They must be below 50 years of age for appointment as Chairman or Member. They serve a term of four years or until reaching the age of 70 for the Chairman and 67 for Members.

  • The  (CAT) appoints its Chairman and Members through the central government, based on recommendations from a search-cum-selection committee. This committee is chaired by the Chief Justice of India nominated by the Chief Justice of India.
  • CAT operates independently of the Civil Procedure Code of 1908, following the principles of natural justice, which allows flexibility in its approach. Applicants are only required to pay a nominal fee of ₨. 50. They can choose to represent themselves or be represented by a lawyer.

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State Administrative Tribunals


  • The Administrative Tribunals Act of 1985 grants the Central government the authority to establish State Administrative Tribunals (SATs) upon the specific request of respective state governments.
  • Similar to the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), SATs hold original jurisdiction regarding recruitment and service matters concerning state government employees. The appointment of the SAT's chairman and members is made by the central government based on recommendations from a search-cum-selection committee chaired by the Chief Justice of the High Court of the concerned state.
  • The act also allows for the creation of Joint Administrative Tribunals (JAT) for two or more states. A JAT exercises all the jurisdiction and powers that administrative tribunals have for the involved states.

Tribunals for Other Matters

Article 323B grants the Parliament and state legislatures the authority to establish tribunals for adjudicating disputes related to various matters, including taxation, foreign exchange, import and export, industrial and labour issues, land reforms, ceiling on urban property, elections to Parliament and state legislatures, foodstuffs, rent, and tenancy rights.


Articles 323A and 323B differ in the following  aspects:

Laxmikanth Summary: Tribunals | Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

  1. Article 323A focuses on establishing tribunals specifically for public service matters, while Article 323B involves the establishment of tribunals for various other specified matters.

  2. Tribunals under Article 323A can only be established by Parliament. In contrast, tribunals under Article 323B can be established by both Parliament and state legislatures, depending on the matters falling within their legislative competence.

  3. Article 323A allows for the creation of only one tribunal for the Centre and one for each state or two or more states, without a hierarchy of tribunals. On the other hand, Article 323B allows for the establishment of a hierarchy of tribunals.

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FAQs on Laxmikanth Summary: Tribunals - Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

1. What is the role of tribunals in the UPSC exam?
Ans. Tribunals in the UPSC exam play a crucial role in the adjudication of disputes and grievances related to the examination process. They provide a platform for candidates to appeal against decisions made by the UPSC, such as exam results or disqualification. The tribunals ensure fairness and transparency in the examination system.
2. How are tribunals different from regular courts in the context of the UPSC exam?
Ans. Tribunals differ from regular courts in the context of the UPSC exam as they are specialized bodies established to deal with specific matters related to the examination process. Unlike regular courts, tribunals are designed to provide a quicker and more accessible resolution to disputes and grievances arising from the exam. They have specific expertise in the field and follow a simplified procedure.
3. Can a candidate approach a tribunal if they are dissatisfied with their UPSC exam result?
Ans. Yes, a candidate can approach a tribunal if they are dissatisfied with their UPSC exam result. The tribunal provides an avenue for candidates to appeal against decisions made by the UPSC, including exam results. Candidates can present their case and provide evidence to support their claim. The tribunal will then review the case and make a decision based on the merits and relevant rules and regulations.
4. Are the decisions of tribunals in the UPSC exam final and binding?
Ans. Yes, the decisions of tribunals in the UPSC exam are generally final and binding. However, in certain cases, candidates may have the option to further appeal the decision of the tribunal to a higher court. The availability of this option depends on the specific laws and regulations governing the tribunals and the appeals process.
5. What are the benefits of having tribunals in the UPSC exam process?
Ans. Having tribunals in the UPSC exam process brings several benefits. First, it ensures a fair and impartial resolution of disputes and grievances, providing candidates with an opportunity to present their case. Second, tribunals expedite the resolution process, saving time and resources for both the candidates and the UPSC. Third, tribunals bring specialized expertise to the examination process, leading to better decision-making and increased transparency.
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