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