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Home Acts & Rules Bill Bills Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021 Chapters List Statements STATEMENT STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS This
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STATEMENT - STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS - Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021

Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021
Statements STATEMENT
  • Contents


With a view to streamline tribunals, the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021 is proposed to be enacted to abolish certain tribunals and authorities and to provide a mechanism for filing appeal directly to the commercial court or the High Court, as the case may be.

2. The Government of India began the process of rationalisation of tribunals in 2015. By the Finance Act, 2017, seven tribunals were abolished or merged based on functional similarity and their total number was reduced from 26 to 19. The rationale followed in the first phase was to close down tribunals which were not necessary and merge tribunals with similar functions.

3. In the second phase, analysis of data of the last three years has shown that tribunals in several sectors have not necessarily led to faster justice delivery and they are also at a considerable expense to the exchequer. The Hon'ble Supreme Court has deprecated the practice of tribunalisation of justice and filing of appeals directly from tribunals to the Supreme Court in many of its judgements, including S.P Sampath Kumar versus Union of India (1987) 1 SCC 124 = 1986 (12) TMI 136 - SUPREME COURT, L. Chandra Kumar versus Union of India (1997) 3 SCC 261 = 1997 (3) TMI 90 - SUPREME COURT, Roger Mathew versus South Indian Bank Limited (2020) 6 SCC 1 = 2019 (11) TMI 716 - SUPREME COURT and Madras Bar Association versus Union of India and another (2020) SCC Online SC 962 = 2020 (12) TMI 3 - SUPREME COURT. Therefore, further streamlining of tribunals is considered necessary as it would save considerable expense to the exchequer and at the same time, lead to speedy delivery of justice. Accordingly, it is proposed to abolish some more tribunals and transfer the jurisdiction exercised by them to the High Court.

4. The tribunals that are proposed to be abolished in this phase are of the kind which handle cases in which public at large is not a litigant or those which neither take away any significant workload from High Courts which otherwise would have adjudicated such cases nor provide speedy disposal. Many cases do not achieve finality at the level of tribunals and are litigated further till High Courts and Supreme Court, especially those with significant implications. Therefore, these tribunals only add to another additional layer of litigation. Having separate tribunal requires administrative action in terms of filling up of posts and such other matters, and any delay in such action further delays disposal of cases. Reducing the number of tribunals shall not only be beneficial for the public at large, reduce the burden on public exchequer, but also address the issue of shortage of supporting staff of tribunals and infrastructure.

5. The Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021, inter-alia, seeks to give effect to aforesaid proposal and provide for the following, namely:-

(i) abolition of tribunals or authorities under various Acts by amending the Cinematograph Act, 1952, the Copyrights Act, 1957, the Customs Act, 1962, the Patents Act, 1970, the Airport Authority of India Act, 1994, the Trade Marks Act, 1999, the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act, 2001, the Control of National Highways (Land and Traffic) Act, 2002 and the Finance Act, 2017;

(ii) transfer of all cases pending before such tribunals or authorities to the Commercial Court or the High Court, as the case may be, on the appointed date;

(iii) the Chairman and Members of such tribunals shall cease to hold office and they shall be entitled to claim compensation not exceeding three months' pay and allowances for the premature termination of term of their office or of any contract of service.

6. The Bill seeks to achieve the above objectives.

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