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Report No. 272

C. Tribunal System in the United States

2.12 The United States Supreme Court is generally considered as an Appellate Court as it reviews the decisions of all the lower courts in the country including the State Supreme Courts.33 Due to strict adherence to the doctrine of separation of powers, it does not exercise administrative adjudication.

33 Outline of the U.S. Legal System, 28 BIIPUSDS (2004).

2.13 According to the US Constitution, judicial power cannot be vested in administrative bodies which are not Courts. The power exercised by administrative Tribunals is not 'judicial' but only 'quasi-judicial'. The essential attributes of judicial power are, the finality of decisions, free from any interference from the other two branches of the State, i.e., the Executive and the Legislature.

2.14 The administrative Tribunals deal with multiple problems which require expert knowledge and experience. United States of America has followed a natural line of evolution. The American Bar Association appointed a Special Committee on Administrative Law in 1933. The Report of the Special Committee called for greater judicial control over administrative agencies. This lead to the appointment of the Attorney General's Committee by President Roosevelt in the year 1939 investigate the need for procedural reforms in the field of Administrative Law. The Report of the Committee resulted in the enactment of Administrative Procedure Act, 1946, which constituted a statutory code relating to the judicial control of administrative action in the USA.

2.15 The Act constitutes a great landmark in the development of Administrative Law. The procedure to be followed while discharging various functions and definite avenues of judicial review are codified in the Act. The Statute empowers the Courts to review decisions of administrative bodies only on questions of law and interpretation of statutes. However, the Supreme Court has clarified that there should not be literal interpretation of the provisions as that would render the scope of judicial review meaningless.

Assessment of Statutory Frameworks of Tribunals in India Back

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