Current AffairsIndian Polity

Tribunals Reforms Bill, 2021

The Lok Sabha has hastily passed the Tribunals Reforms Bill, 2021 without any debate.

Key Highlights: 

  • It seeks to dissolve certain existing appellate bodies and transfer their functions to other existing judicial bodies.
  • It seeks to empower the Central Government to make rules for qualifications, appointment, term of office, salaries and allowances, resignation, removal and other terms and conditions of service of Members of Tribunals.
  • It provides that the Chairperson and Members of the Tribunals will be appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of a Search-cum-Selection Committee. 
  • It also provides the composition of the Committee, to be headed by the Chief Justice of India or a Judge of Supreme Court nominated by him.
  • For state tribunals, there will be a separate search committee.
  • The Union government has to ‘preferably’ decide on the recommendations of the search-cum selection committee within 3 months of the date of the recommendation.
  • Tenure: Chairperson of a Tribunal shall hold office for a term of 4 years or till he attains the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier. Other Members of a Tribunal shall hold office for a term of 4 years or till he attains the age of 67 years, whichever is earlier.

What are tribunals

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.

Transfer of functions of key appellate bodies as proposed under the Bill:

Acts Appellate Body Proposed Entity
The Cinematograph Act, 1952 Appellate Tribunal High Court
The Trade Marks Act, 1999 Appellate Board High Court
The Copyright Act, 1957 Appellate Board Commercial Court or the Commercial Division of a High Court*
The Customs Act, 1962 Authority for Advance Rulings High Court
The Patents Act, 1970 Appellate Board High Court
The Airports Authority of India Act, 1994 Airport Appellate Tribunal
  • Central government, for disputes arising from the disposal of properties left on airport premises by unauthorised occupants.
  • High Court, for appeals against orders of an eviction officer.
The Control of National Highways (Land and Traffic) Act, 2002 Airport Appellate Tribunal Civil Court#
The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 Appellate Board High Court
Tags: Current Affairs, Indian Polity

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