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.
(i) The term ‘Tribunal’ is derived from the word ‘Tribunes’, which means ‘Magistrates of the Classical Roman Republic’.
(ii) 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.
Need of Tribunal
(i) Tribunals were not part of the original constitution, it was incorporated in the Indian Constitution by 42nd Amendment Act, 1976.
(ii) Under Article 323 B, the Parliament and the state legislatures are authorised to provide for the establishment of tribunals for the adjudication of disputes relating to the following matters:
(iii) Articles 323 A and 323 B differ in the following three aspects:
(iv) Article 262: The Indian Constitution provides a role for the Central government in adjudicating conflicts surrounding inter-state rivers that arise among the state/regional governments.
Tribunals in India
(i) Administrative Tribunals was set-up by an act of Parliament, Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985. It owes its origin to Article 323 A of the Constitution.
(ii) The Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 provides for three types of tribunals:
(iii) There are tribunals 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 (COMPAT) and Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT), among others.
Central Administrative Tribunal
(i) It has jurisdiction to deal with service matters pertaining to the Central Government employees or of any Union Territory, or local or other government under the control of the Government of India, or of a corporation owned or controlled by the Central Government.
(ii) The appeals against the orders of an Administrative Tribunal shall lie before the Division Bench of the concerned High Court.
State Administrative Tribunal
Water Disputes Tribunal
The Parliament has enacted Inter-State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act, 1956 have formed various Water Disputes Tribunal for adjudication of disputes relating to waters of inter-State rivers and river valleys thereof.
Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT)
(i) It is a military tribunal in India. It was established under the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007.
(ii) It has provided the power for the adjudication or trial by AFT of disputes and complaints with respect to commission, appointments, enrolments and conditions of service in respect of persons subject to the Army Act, 1950, The Navy Act, 1957 and the Air Force Act, 1950.
(iii) Besides the Principal Bench in New Delhi, AFT has Regional Benches at Chandigarh, Lucknow, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai, Kochi, Mumbai and Jaipur.
(iv) The Judicial Members are retired High Court Judges and Administrative Members are retired Members of the Armed Forces who have held the rank of Major General/ equivalent or above for a period of three years or more, Judge Advocate General (JAG), who have held the appointment for at least one year are also entitled to be appointed as the Administrative Member.
National Green Tribunal (NGT)
(i) The National Environment Tribunal Act, 1995 and National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1997 were found to be inadequate giving rise to demand for an institution to deal with environmental cases more efficiently and effectively.
(ii) The Law Commission in its 186th Report suggested multi-faceted Courts with judicial and technical inputs referring to the practice of environmental Courts in Australia and New Zealand.
(iii) The National Green Tribunal was established in 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 as a statutory body.
(iv) The Tribunal is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.
(v) Initially, the NGT is proposed to be set up at five places of sittings and will follow circuit procedure for making itself more accessible.
Income Tax Appellate Tribunal