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Administrative Tribunals In India: Origin and Purpose

A civil servant on being visited with a major penalty can take recourse to a departmental appeal, against the order imposing the punishment of dismissal, removal or reduction in rank. Thereafter, if he still remains aggrieved at the order of the appellate authority, he can seek recourse to a review of the same order.

Even after having exhausted all the departmental remedies, he continues to be aggrieved by penal action of the department; he can seek legal redressal before a court of law. But if an aggrieved civil servant happens to be a member of any central government department, or any other department within the jurisdiction of the Central Administrative Tribunal, he has to seek legal redress before the Tribunal.

For a proper analysis of the working of the Central Administrative Tribunal it is considered essential to look into the functioning of Administrative Tribunals in general.

Administrative tribunals being creatures of law, exercise jurisdiction, powers and authority of law and acts according to procedures duly prescribed by law. Such tribunals adjudicate, upon or holds trial of disputes, complaints or offences through adversary proceedings. The chief characteristics of administrative tribunals are speedy disposal of cases with cheapness, occasioned by informality and flexibility of procedure. The tribunals avoid procedural technicalities and take a functional, rather than a legalistic approach.[1]

The administrative tribunals, necessitated by socioeconomic developments have come to occupy a key position in the administrative process. They have become an inevitable concomitant of a welfare state. Administrative tribunals are indeed an answer to the need for expeditious disposal of cases through minimum formality and technicality, at minimum cost.[2]

At times, the administrative tribunals are required to act judicially and not merely judiciously. This is so when it exercises powers of a civil court for certain procedural matters.[3] Such determination of facts through exercise of judicial process is indeed a power of enormous consequence.[4]

The system of administrative adjudication through administrative tribunals or quasi-judicial bodies is very much to be found in India. It is a striking characteristic of the Indian legal system that tribunals have been set up under specific statutes to adjudicate upon various matters as provided for. The hall mark of tribunals has been its cheapness, efficiency and informality as is compatible with genuine justice.

The social philosophy of the Constitution, as reflected in the Preamble as well as Part IV, signifies the essence of the administrative process. Yet, administrative law did not receive any separate recognition in our country, prior to the forty second constitutional amendment, 1976. This was in spite of the fact that the first law commission setup way back in 1955 felt the necessity of setting up of tribunal[5].

The Commission[6] had recommended that appeals from quasi-judicial bodies on facts should lie to an independent Tribunal. It observed that such tribunals ought to be presided over by a person qualified to be a judge of the High Court and be assisted by a person or persons having administrative and technical knowledge.

However, the Law Commission did not favor the system of administrative courts as it wanted review of administrative action to remain unimpaired with the High Courts.

The Commission further recommended that [7]:
  1. judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative decisions should be clearly demarcated;
  2. In the case of judicial and quasi-judicial decisions, appeal or revision should lie on a question of Law;
  3. An administrative division of the High Court may be established, if necessary.
  4. Administrative decisions should be accompanied by reasons in writing;
  5. A tribunal delivering administrative judgment should conform to the principles of natural justice and should act with openness, fairness and impartiality;
  6. Legislation providing for simple procedure embodying the principles of natural justice for the functioning of all tribunals may be passed.

The First Law Commission did not suggest the setting up of Administrative Tribunals as it thought that the time was not ripe for disturbing the then existing position, since a sizable portion of cases pending litigation pertained to the civil services, the government felt the need for effective, expeditious, and satisfactory disposal of such cases.

A committee under the Chairmanship of Justice Shah, 290 appointed in 1969 addressed itself to the issue of pending service cases. It came up with a recommendation, advising the Government to set up an independent Tribunal to handle service cases, pending before the Supreme Court.

At this point of time, the Administrative Reforms Commission under the Chairmanship of Morarji Desai also addressed itself to the issue. The Administrative Reforms Commission[8] too recommended the setting of Civil Services Tribunals to deal with appeals of government servants, against disciplinary action.

In spite of the above recommendation, the Central Government addressed the matter further as a major chunk of service litigations related to matters other than disciplinary action. A few years later, the matter came to be considered by the Swaran Singh Committee in the year, 1976. This committee too came up with the recommendation for setting up of separate administrative tribunals for certain matters[9], The very same year the matter also came to be considered by a conference of chief secretaries of the States.

The Government finally introduced the constitution forty second amendment in Parliament in the year 1976. Clause 46 of the aforesaid amendment came to be introduced 291 providing for Articles 323A and 323B by way of an innovation under Part XIV A to the Constitution. The constitutional amendment thus provided for a new chapter relating to tribunals. In view of the importance of Article 3 2 3 A, providing for the setting up of administrative tribunals, the same is quoted in extension:[10]
  1. To enable parliament to make an enactment for the constitution of Administrative Tribunals for adjudication of disputes in regard to service matters,.
  2. To make the enactment in conformity with the guideline set out in clauses (a) to (g) of sub-section (2) of the Article.
  3. to exclude the jurisdiction of all courts except the Supreme Court especially the High Courts to entertain writ petitions as well as appeals from the decisions o) Administrative Tribunal and lower courts as the Administrative Tribunals are now being given the sole authority to decide the fact in all matters concerning his service conditions.[11]
Article 323A of the Constitution being an enabling provision(provided for the setting up of Administrative p.9? Tribunals by parliamentary law for determining disputes pertaining to conditions of service of Government servants it also brought within its ambit, employees of any local or other authorities within the territory of India (or under the control of the Government of India or a corporation owned or controlled by the Government. Besides, it also provided tor setting up of separate Administrative Tribunal for each State or a Joint Administrative Tribunal for two or more states.

In bringing forth the amendment, Parliament has given express recognition of the growing need for separate service tribunals as a necessary concomitant of a welfare state. It has displayed due appreciation of the need for imparting speedy and substantive justice to public servants, who are the cornerstone of the administration of this vast country.[12]

The amendment provides for exclusion of jurisdiction, powers and authority of all courts, except the Supreme Court under Article 136, in matters falling within the jurisdiction of the Tribunals.[13] This has been provided for in order to reduce the mounting arrear of cases in the High Courts and Supreme Court numbering about 63,800[14] and to secure speed/ disposal of service matters. In fact, justification for Article 323A lies in the massive case law generated in 2 9 3 service matters/which the ordinary law courts were finding it difficult to cope with.

The need for setting up of service -tribunal for rendering efficacious relief to the public servants has also been stressed by the Supreme Court in K.K. Dutta Vs Union of India in the following words.

"Public servants ought not to be driven or required to dissipate their time and energy in court room battles.... The constitution of service Tribunals by the State Governments with an apex Tribunal at the Centre which in the generality of cases should be the final arbiter of controversies relating to condition of service, including the vexed question of seniority, may save the courts from the avalanche of writ petitions and appeal in service matters. The proceedings of such Tribunals can have the merit of informality and if they will not be tied down to strict rules of evidence, they might be able to produce solutions which will satisfy many."

The Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985

The constitution framers of India as pervaded the Supreme court and the High (Thakker and Thakker 2017) court and with the authority of the Judicial review which is definitely enacting the Articles 32,136,226 and 227 of the constitution of India. With the enactment of the Articles 12, 14,16,309 and 311 of the constitution where there are large number of the service matters International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics Special Issue 1926 which is calling for the disputes for the recruitment and the condition of the service of the government servants.

The benefaction by the High Courts coupled with the Extension with the number of the workers and all the problems will be multiple it will be the surface in the surroundings of the newcomer and the conditions of their services and which will unstated their faith and belief in the High Courts and it will be reliable protector of the members rights and honor will be led to moderate increase in the organization or the pendency of service matters in the courts.

The statement of objects and the reasons are:
To reduce the mounting arrears in the High courts and to secure the Speedy disposal of the service matters.

The enactment of the administrative tribunals act,1985 opened a new chapter in the sphere of administering justice to be aggrieved Government Servants in Service matters. The Initial getting up of Tribunals is formed on the premise that special body comprising both Qualified administrators and those of the judicial experience.

The administrative tribunal are different from the ordinary Courts with regard to their jurisdiction and process, they are also free from shackles of many of the technicalities of the ordinary courts and the procedural Simplicity of the can be appreciated from the fact that may be aggrieved person can also appear before it personally.

  1. The traditional judicial system of high courts and local courts proved inadequate to decide and settle all the disputes. It was slow, high in costs, very complex and more formal and it has already been overburdened and it was not possible to spread up important matters. Therefore industrial tribunals and labour courts were formed, which had the expertise to handle complex Issues. International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics Special Issue 1927.
  2. The administrative tribunal authorities can avoid technicalities and they take functional and practical approval countries and it will be theoretical and legalistic approach because of the theoretical and legalistic approach, it is not possible for courts to decide on the court.
  3. Administrative tribunals can take preventive measures and for example licensing, rate fixing etc., unlike regulate courts of law, they don't need to wait for union or groups to come before them with disputes. In most cases these preventive actions have become more effective.
  4. Administrative authorities can take effective steps for enforcing preventive measures (e.g.) suspension, revocation or cancellation of license, destruction of contaminated articles, etc., which are not generally available through the court of law.
  5. In Normal courts, the decisions are made after hearing evidence this practice is not appropriate in deciding matters by the administrative authorities. Where wide the discretion is conferred as them and the decisions may be given on the basis of the departmental policy and other relevant factors.
  6. The problems of the technical issues can be heard to solve by the traditional judiciary and may take longer. But administrative authorities are usually made by the experts who can deal with it and solve those problems examples like the problems relating to automotive or the electrical Industry.
  7. Overall, administrative tribunals do their work more rapidly, more cheaply and more effectively, than the normal courts.

Constitutional Validity Of The Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985

This new section was added to the constitution by the constitution 42nd amendment act 1976.It comprises of two articles - articles 323-A and 323- B. Article 323-A accommodates the foundation of administrative tribunals by a parliamentary law for deciding debate identifying with enrollment and state of administration of governments under the union government and state government.

Article 323-B accommodates the formation of tribunals for the assurance of disputes, complaints and offenses identifying with assess matters, exports and imports, labour, and mechanical question, benefit matters, supply of fundamental wares, the decision to parliament and state lawmaking bodies. (Pandey and Central Law Agency 1986).

Administrative Tribunals For Service Matter- Article 323-A

Article 323-An accommodates the establishment of the administrative Tribunals by a parliament law for the adjudication or trial of question and complaints relating to the enrollment and the states of administration of government servants under the central government and the state government including the workers of any local or other authority inside the region of India or under the control of the government of India or of a corporation claimed or controlled by the government. Such law may accommodate the establishment of a tribunal for the union and separate tribunals for each state or for at least two states.

Such law will also make arrangements for:
  1. Parliament may, by law, provide for the mediation or trial by administrative tribunals of debate and objections with respect to recruitment and states of service of persons delegated to open services and posts regarding the affairs of the Union or of any State or of any neighborhood or other authority inside the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India or of any corporation claimed or controlled by the Government.
  2. A law made under statement may:
    1. Provide for the foundation of an administrative tribunal for the Union and a separate administrative tribunal for each State or for two or more States;
    2. Determine the jurisdiction, powers (counting the power to rebuff for disdain) and authority which might be exercised by each of the said tribunals;
    3. Provide for the procedure (counting provisions as to confinement and rules of confirmation) to be trailed by the said tribunals;
    4. Avoid the jurisdiction of all courts, aside from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under article 136, with respect to the debate or grievances;
    5. Provide for the transfer to each such administrative tribunal of any cases pending before any court or other authority quickly before the foundation of such tribunal as would have been inside the jurisdiction of such tribunal if the reasons for action on which such suits or proceedings are based had arisen after such foundation;
    6. Repeal or amend any order made by the President under proviso (3) of article 371D.

Administrative Tribunal And Court Distinction

An Administrative Tribunal is similar to a court in certain Areas and the date of then are constituted by the State and invested with a judicial powers and have a permanent existence. At the same time,it must not be forgotten that an administrative tribunal is not a court.

A tribunal has some characteristics of a court, but not all and in the below paragraphs is discussed:
  1. A court is a part of the normal judicial system where powers are derived from the state and the body deals with the king justice called ―court‖. But the administrative tribunal is an agency created by a statute and invested with the judicial powers.
  2. Ordinary civil courts have judicial power in dealing with all civil matters, but in a tribunal they have power to try cases in special matters of civil cases.
  3. Judges of the ordinary courts are independent of their tenure, terms and conditions of service, but administrative tribunals are entirely in the hand of government in respect of those matters.
  4. A judge is an important arbiter he cannot decide a matter on his own in a court of Law. but is an Administrative Tribunal they may be party to the dispute to the decided by it.
  5. A court of law follows and tied to all the evidence and procedure but an administrative tribunal is not bound by that procedure unless the relevant act imposes such an obligation.
  6. The mere lack of the general jurisdiction to try all the cases of a civil nature does not necessarily lead to an inference that the forum is a tribunal and not a court.
  7. A court of law is generally presided over by an officer trained in law, but the president or a member of a tribunal may not be trained as well in law.
  8. A court must decide all the questions objectively on the basis of the evidence and materials produced before it, but an administrative tribunal may decide the questions taking into account the departmental policy or expediency and in that sense, the decisions may be subjective rather than the objective.
  9. A court law can decide the vires of legislation, while an administrative tribunal cannot do so. International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics Special Issue 1932
  10. While a court of law is bound by the precedents, principles of res judicata and estoppel, an administrative tribunal is not strictly bound by them.
  1. M. C.Jain Kagzi 1982 The Indian Administrative Law (4th ed) New Delhi: Methodology Book Co. P. 310
  2. M.P.Jain 1979 Principles of Administrative Law (3rd ed) Bombay: N.M.Tripathi pvt. ltd p.6
  3. supra n. Ip. 306.
  4. J.M.Landis. 1946 The Administrative Process (1st edition) 4th Printing New Haven: Yale University Press p 136
  5. K .P .Chakarvarty 1989 Administrative Tribunal law and Procedure Calcutta : Eastern law House p5.
  6. Law Commission of India Fourteenth Report pp. 694-695.
  7. Ibid.
  8. 1968 Report of the Administrative Reforms Commission Recommendation No 54
  9. K.N.Goyal 1986 Administrative Tribunals A ct.1985(1987 reprint) Lacknow: Eastern Book Co.p6
  10. S.P.Sampat Kumar Vs Union of India and ors, AIR 1987, sc 386 (395)
  11. Supra on 6 p.8.
  12. H.N.Das 1983 A critical analysis of the Law relating to the civil service under the Constitution of India as interpreated by the honourable Supreme Court.University of Guwahati (Ph.D.Thesis)
  13. Article 323 A (2) (d) of the Constitution of India .
  14. Statement of Mr.K.P.Singh Deo. Minister while piloting the bill in the Lok Sabha on 29.1.1985
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