Tribunals have not only failed in achieving their envisaged objectives but also creating multiple challenges in the administration of justice in India. Critically analyze.

Tribunalization of justice in India has been a central feature of India’s legal system in past decade.

Its features are:

  • Trapping of writ
  • Quasi judicial authority
  • Expert adjudication

Significance:

  • Overburdened Judiciary has been inadequate to meet the needs of technical and complex nature of adjudication in key sectors. E.g. 3 crore cases are pending, 87% pendency in subordinate judiciary.
  • Recognizing it 42nd amendment act introduced article 323 A and 323 B.
  • Article 323 A – adjudication of disputes over recruitment and service conditions of members of civil services.
  • Article 323 B – tribunals for specified sectors like taxation, electricity.
  • Importance – expert led adjudication, expedience, not bound by civil procedure code, flexible, departmental representation.

Their working however has raised concerns.

Challenges:

  • High pendency in Tribunals.
  • Judicial Members not adequately represented.
  • Lack of tenure security.
  • Absence of uniform rules of working.
  • These concerns were highlighted into judgement of Madras Bar Association vs Union of India.

The court recommended:

  • Minimum tenure of 5 to 7 years of members.
  • Within overall supervision of ministry of law and Justice.
  • Judicial members.
  • Deciding officer cannot be removed except concurrence of judicial members of appointing collegium.
  • Judicial Supremacy in appointing committee.

In light of this, the Court struck down 2017 rules of tribunals. Unfortunately newly enacted rules also fall foul of these principles. Tribunals hold the key to reducing the burden of Judiciary while ensuring ease of doing business through expert adjudication in flexible manner. However, its independence and effective functioning is equally crucial and must be secured.

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