Issues of Tribunals: Unresolved.
“The functioning of Tribunals is required to be reviewed on the test of speedy and inexpensive quality justice. L. Chandra Kumar, (1997) 3 SCC 261 noted that various Tribunals have not evolved up to the expectations which is self-evident and widely acknowledged. Drastic measures were required to elevate the standards. R. Gandhi, (2010) 11 SCC 1 observed that if Tribunals are to be given judicial power which was earlier exercised by Courts, they must possess independence, security and capacity associated with Courts. Madras Bar Association, (2014) 10 SCC 1 observed appointment of non-judicial members may constitute dilution and encroachment upon independence of judiciary and rule of law. In Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited, (2016) 9 SCC 103 the observations in L. Chandra Kumar and Madras Bar Association were reiterated to the effect that remedy of appeal to this Court was too costly and inaccessible.”
“It is interesting to note that establishment of Tribunals in India relate back to as early as the year 1941 when the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal [ITAT] was established to expedite tax disputes.
We direct the Union to rationalize and amalgamate the existing Tribunals depending upon their case-load and commonality of subject-matter after conducting a Judicial Impact Assessment, in line with The Law Commission of India in its 272nd Report.” [Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Hon’ble Justice Ranjan Gogoi]
“Courts and Tribunals should in theory be, but are not always in practice, cooperative allies. Apart from specialization, a significant reason for the establishment of Tribunals is expedition in the course of justice. Tribunalization was intended to combat the high pendency of cases before Indian Courts. However, experience gained from the working of Tribunals suggests that the efficiency of Tribunals in India is significantly reduced due to systemic and administrative problems. The 272nd Report of The Law Commission of 2017 has highlighted the high level of pendency before the Tribunals.
The lack of a single authority to ensure competence and uniform service conditions has led to a fragmented Tribunal system that defeats the purpose for which the system was constituted. We recommend the constitution of The National Tribunals Commission to oversee the working of Tribunals.” [Hon’ble Justice Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud]
“Tribunals have come to stay. One umbrella organization will be better equipped to understand the problems faced by all the Tribunals. This could lead to standardization of Tribunals and a uniform approach to the needs of each Tribunal.
For 2-Decades, Government has not thought it fit to comply with the 7-Judge Bench Judgment of L. Chandra Kumar.” [Hon’ble Justice Deepak Gupta]
Court in particular has to live these déjà vu moments. We have noticed a disturbing trend of Government not implementing the directions issued by Court. Government is, accordingly, directed to strictly adhere to the directions given and not force Madras Bar Association, which has been relentless in its efforts to ensure judicial independence of the Tribunals, to knock the doors of this Court again.
– Hon’ble Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Madras Bar Association v. Union of India, [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 804 of 2020].