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  • 07 September, 2021

  • 5 Min Read

The Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021

The Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021

Recently, the President promulgated Tribunal Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance 2021 through which the Appellate authorities under nine laws have been replaced with High Courts. (Click here to read about Administrative Tribunals in India)

The Ordinance amended the Finance Act 2017 to include provisions related to the composition of search-cum-selection committees, and term of office of members in the Act itself.

The Finance Act 2017

  • It empowered the central government to notify rules on qualifications of members, terms and conditions of their service, and composition of search-cum-selection committees for 19 tribunals (such as Customs, Excise, and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal).

Major Provisions:

  • The Chairperson and Members of the Tribunals will be appointed by the central government on the recommendation of a Search-cum-Selection Committee.
  • The Committee will consist of:
    • Chief Justice of India, or a Supreme Court Judge nominated by him, as the Chairperson (with casting vote),
    • Secretaries nominated by the central government,
    • The sitting or outgoing Chairperson, or a retired Supreme Court Judge, or a retired Chief Justice of a High Court.
    • The Secretary of the Ministry under which the Tribunal is constituted (with no voting right).
  • The term of office for the Chairperson of the tribunals will be of 4 years or till the attainment of the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.
  • For other members of the tribunals, the term will be of 4 years or till the age of 67 years, whichever is earlier.
  • The Nine Laws (Replacement of Appellate Authorities/Tribunals):
    • The Cinematograph Act, 1952.
    • The Trade Marks Act, 1999.
    • The Copyright Act, 1957.
    • The Customs Act, 1962.
    • The Patents Act, 1970.
    • The Airports Authority of India Act, 1994.
    • The Control of National Highways (Land and Traffic) Act, 2002.
    • The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.
  • Reason for Replacing Tribunals:
    • The quality of adjudication has been underwhelming in most cases, the delays have been substantial because the government has struggled to find competent persons willing to accept positions on these tribunals, and litigation has actually become more expensive, as these tribunals added another layer to it.
    • There has been incessant litigation since 1985 by advocate bar associations against the tribunals over serious questions of their independence from the executive.
    • The cases with High courts could increase.

Source: TH

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