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Report No. 89

43.20. Article 136 of the Constituti.-Case Law.- There are numerous decisions under Article 136 of the Constitution on the construction of the expression "tribunal". The earliest case was Bharat Bank Ltd. v. Its Employees, AIR 1950 SC 188, in which it was observed that tribunals adorned with the same trappings as courts which derive their power from the State and are exercising the judicial power of the State come within the scope of Article 136. This principle has been followed in later cases,1-2 but the tests were with reference to statutes other than the Limitation Act.

1. Engineering Mazdoor Sabha v. Hind Cycles Ltd., AIR 1963 SC 874.

2. A.C. Companies Ltd. v. P.N. Sharma, AIR 1963 SC 1595.

43.21. The result is, that while the Bombay High Court1, concluded that the Commissioner of Workmen's Compensation is a "court", the Madhya Pradesh High Court2 took a contrary view.

1. Rajyabi v. Mackinnon Mackenzie & Co. Pvt. Ltd., AIR 1976 Born 278.

2. Yashwant Rao v. Sampat, AIR 1979 MP 21 (FB).

43.22. A single Judge of the Calcutta High Court1 has listed no less than 11 conditions or criteria on whose touchstone an enactment creating a statutory authority will have to be scrutinised, in order to decide whether that authority is a "Court". According to him on the basis of the judicial decisions, it would appear that a tribunal or authority shall be a court if the following conditions, in effect, are present:

(i) the source of power of the tribunal or authority is the State as the fountain of justice and it is charged with and exercises the inherent judicial powers of the State;

(ii) the jurisdiction to adjudicate the lis between contending parties involving their rights is conferred on it by law and does not depend on any voluntary act or submission of parties;

(iii) the right to move the tribunal or authority is conferred on the aggrieved party by law;

(iv) the proceeding on the lis commences by presentation of the case by the aggrieved party with a corresponding right on the other party to meet the case;

(v) in adjudicating the dispute the tribunal or authority follows an established or prescribed procedure;

(vi) if the dispute is on a question of fact, an opportunity to the parties is given to adduce evidence and the facts are to be ascertained through evidence, supplemented by argument;

(vii) if the dispute is on questions of law, there will be a submission of arguments on such questions of law by the parties before such tribunal or authority;

(viii) the tribunal or authority, in arriving at its decision, acts judicially and according to law, following the principles of natural justice and fair play and not on any other consideration of policy:

(ix) there is a decision wholly disposing, of the matter by a finding upon the facts and disputed questions of law (if required);

(x) finality (subject to appeal, if provided) and authoritativeness of the decisions, as being binding on parties;

(xi) enforceability of the decisions by the tribunal or authority through the process of law.

1. Indian Iron and Steel Co. v. Shish Ram, 83 CWN 786.

43.23. No change needed.- The above exposition has been quoted as of some interest for under standing the expression "Court". We do not, of course, propose to introduce any definition of 'court' in the Act of Limitation.1

1. Certain points relevant to the concept of court have been dealt with under section 12.

43.24. No change needed in Article 137.- Nor do we recommend any change in Article 137 on the above point.

The Limitation Act, 1963 Back

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