Report No. 272
H. 215th Report of Law Commission of India, 2008
4.15 In Report titled 'L. Chandra Kumar be revisited by Larger Bench of Supreme Court' it was observed by the Commission that Administrative Tribunals are a valuable and indeed an essential part of adjudicatory system of a democratic State. The Tribunals have come to stay. Special Tribunals are likely to grow rather than diminish. The impression that the Tribunal constituted under the Act of 1985 is dependent upon the Government is misconceived. The functioning of the Tribunal is not at all controlled by the Government, in any manner whatsoever. In this regard, it was observed:
'7.8 The High Court is at the apex of the State Judicial apparatus. Unless the base level, where litigation is initiated and vertically moves upward to the High Court by way of appeal or revision, is restructured and this proliferating appellate jurisdiction is either controlled or curtailed, the inflow of work in the High Court would neither be regulated nor diminished. The Law Commission expressed the view that, wherever possible, proliferating appellate and wide original jurisdiction should be controlled or curtailed without impairing the quality of justice. The approach of the Commission is to reduce number of appeals, to set up specialist courts/tribunals, simultaneously eliminating the jurisdiction of the High Court.
8.1 However, to allay the apprehension that the Tribunal may be controlled in certain matters by the Government, the Chairman of the Tribunal can be given powers akin to that of Chief Justice of a High Court. In that connection, a provision in the Act of 1985, similar to the one as Article 229 of the Constitution, with regard to laying down conditions of service of employees of the Tribunal can be vested with the Chairman. More independence in financial matters, as enjoyed by the Chief Justice of a High Court can be vested with the Chairman of the Tribunal. Nodal Ministry for the Tribunal can be Ministry of Law and Justice, instead of Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
8.2 if there may be an impression that there has to be at least one appeal provided against the orders passed by the Tribunal before the matter may reach the Supreme Court, intra-tribunal appeal, similar to the one provided in every High Court either by way of letters patent appeal or a writ appeal, can be provided under the Act of 1985 itself.'
4.16 The Commission took note of the fact that the Administrative Tribunals were conceived and constituted as an effective and real substitute for the High Courts as regards service matters. Moreover, the power of judicial review of the High Courts cannot be called as inviolable as that of the Supreme Court. The very objective behind the establishment of Administrative Tribunals is defeated if all the cases adjudicated by them have to go before the concerned High Courts.
4.17 The aforesaid observation that, 'judicial power of the High Court is not as inviolable as that of Supreme Court' has been recorded without furnishing any basis or explanation and runs counter to the law laid down by the seven-Judge Bench in L. Chandra Kumar (Supra). In fact, after the pronouncement of the Supreme Court on this respect, there was no occasion for the Commission to make such an observation, particularly when no such opinion has ever been expressed by any court or authority including the legislature.