The Tribunal Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021

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The Tribunal Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021

The Tribunal Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021

Recently, the Central Government has introduced the Tribunal Reforms (Streamlining and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021.

  • This bill will replace the Tribunal Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021.
  • In the Bill, a provision has been made for the same terms and conditions of service for different members of the Tribunal.
  • Simultaneously, the Bill proposes to abolish certain tribunals as an attempt to rationalize the tribunals.

Salient Features of the Bill:

  • The Bill dissolves some existing appellate bodies and transfers their functions to other existing judicial bodies.
  • These include The Cinematograph Act, Copyright Act, Customs Act, Patents Act, Airport Authority of India Act, Trademark Act, Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act etc.
  • According to this bill, the term of office of the Chairperson of the Tribunal and its members will be four years. The term of office will be subject to the upper age limit of 70 years for the Speaker and 67 years for the other members.
  • It is to be noted that earlier, Section 184 of the Finance Act 2017 was repealed by the Supreme Court. According to the court, the term of 4 years fixed for the members, was contrary to the principles of separation of powers, independence of the judiciary and Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
  • The Bill specifies that a person must be at least 50 years of age to be appointed as Speaker or Member.

Need for Rationalisation:

  • According to the government, the tribunals have not given any special impetus to the judicial process, while many tribunals have added an additional level of litigation.
  • Under the Finance Act 2017, seven tribunals were abolished or merged on the basis of functional equality.

What are ‘tribunals’?

  • A ‘Tribunal’ is a quasi-judicial body set up to settle administrative matters or to settle tax-related disputes.
  • Tribunals perform functions such as adjudicating disputes, determining rights between claiming parties, taking administrative decisions, reviewing existing administrative decisions, etc.

Constitutional Provisions:

  • The ‘Tribunals’ were not originally a part of the ‘Constitution’. These have been included in the Constitution through the 42nd Amendment Act, based on the recommendations of the ‘Swarna Singh Committee’.
  • Under this amendment, ‘Part XIV-A’ related to ‘Tribunals’ was also added to the Constitution, and 2 articles were included in it:
  • Article 323A: It deals with administrative tribunals. Administrative tribunals are quasi-judicial bodies dealing with the recruitment of persons appointed to the public service, and resolving disputes relating to conditions of service.
  • Under Article 323 B, the Parliament and the state legislatures are authorised to provide for the establishment of tribunals for the adjudication of disputes relating to the following matters: Taxation, Foreign exchange, import and export, Industrial and labour, Land reforms, Ceiling on urban property, Elections to Parliament and state legislatures, Food stuff, Rent and tenancy rights

Source – The Hindu

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