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Report No. 272

J. The Finance Act, 2017

3.33 The Finance Act, 2017 has merged eight tribunals on the ground of functional similarity and has given the power to the Government to appoint and remove the members. The tribunals merged are listed in a tabular form, which is annexed as Annexure-I.

3.34 In exercise of the powers conferred by section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017, the Central Government has framed 'The Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2017.' These rules are applicable to the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Chairperson, Vice- Chairperson, President, Vice- President, Presiding Officer, Accountant Member, Administrative Member, Judicial Member, Expert Member, Law Member, Revenue Member, Technical Member, Member of the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal or, as the case may be, Authority as specified in column (2) of the Eighth Schedule of the Finance Act, 2017. Nineteen Tribunals/Appellate Tribunals/ Authorities constituted under their respective Acts are mentioned in column (3) of the Eighth Schedule. The constitutional validity of the Finance Act and the rules is challenged by way of Writ Petition which is pending before the Supreme Court.68

68 In Jairam Ramesh v. Union of India, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 558 of 2017, it is alleged that The Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualifications, experience and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2017 be declared ultra vires the NGT Act, 2010, as the same suffers from vice of excessive delegation. Notice has been issued to the Ministries of finance, law and justice, environment, parliamentary affairs, the Cabinet Secretariat and the National Green Tribunal (NGT); See also Central Administrative Tribunal (Principal Bench) Bar Association through its President v. Union of India, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 640 of 2017; All India Lawyers Union v. Union of India, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 778 of 2017; and Social Action for Forest and Environment v. Union of India, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 561 of 2017.

3.35 The Tribunals have been established in almost all the countries for the reason that they are cheaper (cost-effective), accessible, free from technicalities, expeditious and proceed more rapidly and efficiently as manned by experts, while the Courts are too remote, too legalistic and too expensive. The concept of Tribunalisation was developed to overcome the crisis of delay and backlogs in the administration of justice. However, the data officially available, in respect of working of some of the Tribunals do not depict a satisfactory picture. Though the disposal rate of the Tribunals in comparison to the filing of cases per year had been remarkable i.e., at the rate of 94%, the pendency remains high. Some of the figures of pending cases before the Tribunals are as under:

Tribunal

As On

Number of Pending Cases

1.

Central Administrative Tribunal

July, 2017

44,333

2.

Railway Claims Tribunal

30-09-2016

45,604

3.

Debt Recovery Tribunal

03-07-2016

78,118

4.

Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appeal Tribunal

End of 2016

90,592

5.

Income Tax Appellate Tribunal

End of 2016

91,538



Assessment of Statutory Frameworks of Tribunals in India Back




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