Lok Sabha passes Tribunals Reforms Bill

Lok Sabha passed the Tribunals Reforms Bill on August 3, 2021 that seeks to abolish nine appellate tribunals.

Highlights

  • Tribunals including the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) will be abolished.
  • Bill was passed by voice vote without any debate.

Tribunals Reforms Bill, 2021

  • Tribunal Reforms Bill, 2021 seeks to replace Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021.
  • Bill was introduced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on August 1, 2021.
  • Bill provides for abolition of tribunals or authorities under several Acts by amending Cinematograph Act of 1952, Copyrights Act of 1957, Customs Act of 1962, Patents Act of 1970, Airport Authority of India Act of 1994 as well as Trade Marks Act of 1999.
  • Bill will also abolish the tribunals under Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of 1999, Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act of 2001, and Control of National Highways (Land and Traffic) Act of 2002.
  • It also provides for uniform terms and conditions of service for chairperson and members of certain tribunals.

What will happen to pending cases?

All pending cases before such tribunals or authorities will be transferred to Commercial Court or High Court.

Background

Government started the process of rationalisation of tribunals in 2015. Seven tribunals were abolished or merged on the basis of functional similarity under the Finance Act, 2017.  Their number was reduced from 26 to 19. In the line, Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021 was introduced in Lok Sabha on February 13, 2021. It proposed to abolish more tribunals and authorities as well as provided for a mechanism of filing an appeal directly to Commercial Court or High Courts.

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