A Long Quest for Rationalisation of Tribunals in India

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Nimesh Das Guru


The tribunals were primarily introduced in Indian judicial system to reduce the mounting
arrears before High Courts and to bring subject matter specialists in the adjudicatory bodies
because of the growing complexities of the disputes. It was expected that these tribunals will
adjudicate the disputes more efficiently and quickly, however, the performance of the
tribunals has been far from satisfactory. The constituting acts of various tribunals came under
controversy since their inception and has given rise to a long line of litigation. Government
tried to rationalise the functioning, composition and supervision of the tribunals under
Finance Act 2017. The first set of Rules were struck down by Supreme Court in Roger
Mathews case and thereafter government introduced another set of Rules in 2020 which were
upheld by Supreme Court with modification. The Government has passed a new Act, “The
Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Act, 2021”, which is vouched
as initiation of second phase of rationalisation of functioning of tribunals, however the author
in this paper is arguing that this is another ad hoc measures taken by government and the new
Act does not provide a comprehensive legislative and institutional reforms that is required for
tribunals to work as an efficient forum of adjudication.

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