This paper mainly focuses on the power and functions of the administrative
tribunals as laid down by the judiciary. These adjudicating bodies are created
by the government to relive the court's burden. Through this paper, we will
analyse the case laws at the length which debate the nature and functions of
these administrative tribunals.
As administrative Tribunal has existed in introductory form from some time, in
the year 1958, the Law Commission suggested the foundation of these tribunals to
relieve to the courts from the stress of litigation as the number of cases are
increasing day by day. These tribunals consist of judicial as well as
administrative members to resolve service matters.
The Central Government
also established a committee under the chairmanship of Justice J.C Shah of the
Supreme Court of India in the year 1969, which also made similar
recommendations. The Swaran Singh Committee proposes the same idea of setting
up of Tribunal in the year 1975. The purpose of setting up pf administration
council is to safeguard the court from the avalanche of writ petitions and
request in administration matters.
This too discovered kindness with the supreme
court of India in case of K.K Dutta v. Union of India. It was against this
backdrop that the Parliament brings the 42nd Constitution Amendment Act, 1976
which included Part XlV-A to the Constitution. Article 323 enabled Parliament to
build up administrative tribunals to control issues like recruitment and states
of administration of people designated to open administrations and posts in
regards to the matters of affiliation or of any state or whatever other
neighbourhood body that comes in the domain of India or heavily influenced by
the Indian government or of any enterprise claimed or compelled by the
At the same time, Article 323-B enables the suitable governing
body, i.e. both the State legislature and the Parliament of India to set up a
tribunal for the arbitration or trial of any dispute, offences or objections
related to the matters like collection and enforcement of tax, the ceiling on
the public property and some other issues.
Parliament was additionally enabled
to recommend by the law of the jurisdiction, authority, power and strategy of
such tribunals. Except for the Supreme Court, all other Courts jurisdiction was
excluded under Article 136. After examining all these provisions of the
Constitution, Parliament established Administrative Council Act 1985 which
became effective on November 1, 1985, for the foundation of administrative
tribunals or courts for determining service disputes of civil servants of the
Centre and State.
Evolution Of Tribunal System In India
In India, managerial settling grows after freedom and different government
assistance laws was proclaimed, which vested the government of choosing detached
issues on the hands of the organization. The propelled Indian Republic brought
into the world with a government assistance state. Hence, the administration
weight to give a large group of government assistance administration to the
individuals was massive.
These quasi-judicial power acquired by the government
body led to various enormous cases concerning their department. The court held
that these bodies should maintain procedure as prescribed by the law while
arriving at their decisions, and these bodies must stick to the principle of
natural justice which was justified the 14th law commission report. Some
tribunals have been made by the legislature to provide a speedy, modest and decentralised determination of disputes coming out of different welfare
Soon after the independence, these tribunals were set up in India. The main
advantage of adjudicatory function is to carry out by the statutory tribunals
created by the governing body to decide upon the certain disputes arising from
admin decisions or to decide issues judicially.
These various administrative
tribunals were governed by the statutes, rules and regulations determined by
both Central as well as State government. Some of these tribunals are:
Central Administrative Tribunals:
In 1985 the Central Administration Tribunal was formed with the objective of
adjudication of disputes.
Customs and Excise Revenue Appellate Tribunal: This Tribunal was established for adjudicating complaints or offences
related to the customs and excise revenue in the year 1986. The Appeals from
the orders of this Custom and Excise tribunal lies with the Supreme Court of
Election Commission: This Commission was formed in the year 1950 with an aim for deciding matters
related to the election. This Tribunal allots election symbols to the
parties and all the offence related to the election are handle by this
Tribunal. The decision given by this Tribunal can also be challenged in the
Supreme Court of India.
Income-tax Appellate Tribunal: This Tribunal was constituted in the year 1961 under the Income Tax Act.
These Tribunals have various offices in various cities who governs all the
offences related to Income Tax. An aggrieved person can file an appeal in
both the High Court and Supreme Court if an order is passed by the
Commissioner or Director of income tax against that person.
Railway Rates Tribunal: In 1989, this Tribunal was formed under the Indian Railway Act. This
Tribunal adjudicates all the matters related to the railway administration.
These matters can be connected to the unfair changes or low rates charged by
the railway administration. The appeal can be filed against this Tribunal in
the supreme court.
The period of emergency plays a vital role in the advancement of tribunals in
India. At that time, it was clear that the executive did not want the legal
executive to interfere with their formative plans and other decisions. Such as
removing of disputes related to the election from the President office, Prime
Minister and Lok Sabha Speaker beyond judicial scrutiny.
This issue was later on
discussed in the year 1976 at the Chief Secretaries Conference and from all
these discussions and reports of the different bodies stated above, the
Parliament enacted the 42nd Constitution Amendment Act 1976.
inserted Article 323A and 323B in the Constitution under which various tribunals
were formed, and they were given the power to deal with the matters. Article
323A allows the Parliament allows the administrative tribunals to decide the
issues whereas Article 323B allow the appropriate legislature to create law for
these tribunals to determine the matter.
Difference between Court and Tribunals
There is a slight contrast between the tribunals and courts yet a similar way
they additionally have a few similitude's too. A portion of these similitude's are
the two of them are represented by the State, have legal powers and are not
temporary. These two are adjudicating bodies made to deal with the disputes, yet
the two of them are not the same as one another. The contrast between them makes
them two distinct governing bodies.
A court of law is the fundamental thing of the judicial system, and the State
gives judicial power to the court. The civil court has the intensity of the
legal executive to settle the issues of civil nature into the trial. These
courts can't attempt the cases which are barred by the State while choosing the
case the appointed authorities are liberated from the executive.
adjudicating the claim needs to adhere to legal guidelines and procedure in the
court as the cases in court is decided based on the precedent, principle of estoppel and other laws as determined by the Constitution. Whereas, the Tribunal
is an agency formed by the statute. The Tribunal is an executive part of a state
which performs judicial and administrative functions. The tribunals are term as
a semi-legal body administered by the State.
These councils can arbitrate
particular type of cases according to the Statutes. These cases are to be
settled by the Administrative Tribunal under the authority of the official
executive. These tribunals don't have the proper prescribed rules as it follows
the principle of natural justice. These tribunals don't have the appropriate
prescribed rules as it follows the principle of natural justice.
The members of
Tribunal are expertise in the field of administration as they do not have the
uniform training of law. The principles of law are not followed by
administrative Tribunal harshly. These tribunals cannot decide 'vires' of the
suit though the court can. In this way, both the Court of Law and Tribunal is
not the same as one another as they play out similar function various manners.
Judicial Analysis of the Powers and Functions of the Administrative Tribunals
The Administrative Tribunal Act 1985 allows a special leave to the Supreme Court
as per Article 136 of the Constitution. It is a special provision and protects
all the cases that do not fall under Article 132-134. The provision to grant
leave under Article 136 is on the discretion of the Supreme Court to allow
appeal before itself, from any judgment, determination, an order made by any
Tribunal or any court in any case or matter.
Therefore, as per Article 136, the
laws of the courts and Tribunal can be appealed before the Supreme Court.
However, what is a tribunal is a matter of Tribunal, and the Supreme Court of
India interpreted this in its various Judgements as in the case of Bharat Bank
v. Employees of Bharat Bank question was arise before the five-judge bench
that whether the Supreme Court can entertain the appeal filed under Article 136
against an order of the Industrial Tribunal or not. Justice Mukherjee believed
that the Supreme Court could not grant the special leave as the Tribunal
functions were more similar to the administrative functions rather than judicial
Therefore award by the Industrial Tribunal cannot be challenged before
the Supreme court, but this statement was contradicted by the majority of the
judges in this case. As justice Mahajan and Chief justice, Kania believed that
the Industrial Tribunal has all the necessary functions similar to the other
courts. They discharge no other duty other than deciding the disputes and such
Tribunals can be characterised as the quasi-judicial body as it is outside the
scope of the regular judicial hierarchy as the functions of these Tribunals are
The same related question was arise in the case of J&K Iron and Steel Co. Ltd.
v. Iron and Steel Mazdoor Union, Kanpur that the jurisdiction and authority
of Industrial Tribunal are same as to the capability of the civil court. The
court said these tribunals are not similar to the courts as they perform
quasi-judicial functions and the Supreme court can over-ride the jurisdiction as
per the Article 136 of the Constitution.
As per the Constitution of India, A
hierarchy system is set under which higher Courts have a definitive position,
and every other court goes under it to control all activity of subjective just
as supreme forces. As for another case of Harinagar Sugar Mills v. Shyam
Sunder, the court held that the Tribunals are the part of a court which was
set up by a State according to the Constitution to practice legal capacities. It
must exercise the ability to pick due to the endorsement of the law, not by
voluntary submissions of the parties to its jurisdiction like a court, must
decide the case equitably and reasonably. The ambit of the word 'court' is
broader than council.
All the courts are Tribunal, yet all tribunals are not
courts. The articulation tribunal implies the seat of an appointed judge or an
official courtroom of justice. Therefore, it was finally concluded by the
court that the word 'tribunal' in Article 136, the expectation was to give
comparative importance as 'court' as in the case of Bharat Bank v.
Representatives of Bharat Bank.
However, in another example of Durga Shankar
Mehta v. Thakur Raghuraj Singh and Ors, it was held that the word 'tribunal'
stated in Article 136 of the Constitution is not the same as the Court. In any
case, it incorporates inside its ambit as Tribunal is additionally an
arbitrating body established by the State as perform same the functions as the
Further in Engineering Mazdoor Sabha v. Hind Cycles Ltd.
The court said that the two conditions must be satisfied for invoking Article
136(1) of the Constitution:
- The complained act must be of judicial or quasi-judicial nature is
different from executive or administrative action.
- The authority whose act has been complained against should be either a
court or a tribunal.
Moreover, the court differentiates a tribunal from the court. The court said
that the expression 'court' in the practical sense is a tribunal established by
a State as a part of the court which contributed to the State's natural legal
forces. A tribunal as recognised from a court practices a statutory authority
and decide the matters that came before it judicially or semi judicially, yet
doesn't constitute a court in the practical sense.
As per the dictionary meaning
the word tribunal means a seat of justice and while discharging its functions,
it shares some of the court's functions. The local tribunals appointed in the
departmental proceeding, and the administrative tribunals are also not covered
under the scope of Article 136(1).
Tribunals which are considered by Article 136
(1), are dressed with a portion of the powers of the court. The Tribunal can ask
the witnesses to appear before them by following specific rules and regulations.
A technical state of evidence does not bound these tribunals, but the case is
decided based on evidence present before them. These decisions are compatible
with the natural principles of law.
As per Article 136, any authority or body
which is constituted by the State becomes a tribunal which follows the state
inherent judicial power. In the case of Durga Shankar Mehta v. Raghuraj
Singh, the court concluded that the Tribunal, including all other governing
bodies, are constituted by the State to perform Judicial function.
Article 136, the power given to the Constitution is in the idea of exceptional
or residuary powers given to the Supreme Court a whole locale in the matter of
engaging interests, by allowing of allowing special leave against any sort of
judgment or request made by a court or council. The court also sees the scope of
Article 136 which State that a regular court can-not appeal against the order
passed by the tribunals.
Article 136 presents an optional force on the Supreme
Court to give Special leave to offer from the request for any council in the
domain of India. The State of disclosing is perhaps annexed to a
solicitation made by the assembly when it works judicially as a court in an
almost modest number of issues and not concerning other authoritative order it
Further, the court said in the case of Madhya Pradesh Industries Ltd. v. Union
of India that the principle of natural justice needs a quasi-judicial
tribunal not to make any decision against the party without giving them the
opportunity of safeguarding himself against the claim charged against him.
However, that depends on the facts and circumstances of each case, and the
Tribunal has complete discretion over it.
As to demand from the Tribunal, it can
be seen that in uncommon and extraordinary conditions, the Supreme Court would
not practice its ability under Article 136 to evade the High Court by engaging
an appeal directly from the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal and therefore dismiss
the decision given by the High Court. The court held in case of L.
Chandra Kumar v. Relationship of India that according to Article 226
high court has judicial power given to the court to review over legislative
activity and a similar power is given to the Supreme court according to Article
32 of the Constitution. Further, it opined that the tribunals are capable of
hearing the issues where the vires of lawfully questioned.
Notwithstanding, the tribunals, while giving their duty, can't act option of the
Supreme court and the high court, which has, under the constitutional setup to
enabled with such a commitment. Their ability in such manner merely is valuable,
and each such decision of the council committee will be based upon assessment
before a division seat of the particular High Court.
The Tribunal will
accordingly test the vires of subordinate authorizations and rules. In any case,
the tribunal power will be subject as a specific case that, these tribunals
won't engage any inquiry related to the vires of the parent statues following
the establishment rule by the Tribunal which is made by an assembly can't be
said as unconstitutional. In these cases, the Tribunal approach directly to the
respective high court.
Every other decision of the Tribunal will similarly rely
upon examination before a Division Bench of their particular High Court. Through
this case, the Supreme court try to shield the jurisdiction of the courts from
encroachment by the governing body by invoking the doctrine of 'fundamental
features of the Constitution'.
The main reason behind the foundation of the administrative Tribunal is to
provide justice to the civil servants, which is somehow missing in the
traditional system. These Tribunals are much useful as it gives the decision
faster than the court and is more cost-effective for the parties.
The Supreme court has said that before taking up the appellant powers as per
Article 136, the individual must uphill the statutory remedies given to him.
Indeed, this is the self-imposed rule of the court to check the range of
proceeding before the court. The Supreme Court said this in the case of
Chandi Prasad Chokhani v. the State of Bihar. It would thus be able to
see that the Supreme Court cannot just be engaged in the cases from the regular
Yet, in addition, the instances controlled by all arbitrating bodies contributed
to legal capacities. It doesn't make a difference that the rule enabling such
governing bodies with an intensity of adjudication doesn't accommodate further
interests and gives convincing certainty to the decisions of the Tribunal.
The exceptional leave to a request can be allowed by the summit court if the
settling bodies including councils don't watch the standards of regular equity
particularly in situations where the adjudicating authorities have given no
purpose behind the choice. Additionally, advance by special leave will be
permitted by the Supreme Court just in cases where there is a probability of
substantial and grave injustice. Therefore, Administrative Tribunals will go far
as a supplementary dispute resolution will help in limiting the number of cases
pending under the watchful eye of the court.
- Law Commission of India, XIV REPORT OF REFORM OF JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION
(1958), available at http://lawcommissionofindia.nic.in/
- Law Commission of India, 215 REPORT L. CHANDRA KUMAR BE REVISITED BY
LARGER BENCH OF SUPREME COURT SHAH COMMISSION REPORT (1977), available at
- K.K Dutta v. Union of IndiaA.I.R. 1980 S.C. 2056. (India)
- CONSTITUTION OF INDIA, Article 323-A (2) (d), 323-B (3) (d)
- Bharat Bank v. Employees of Bharat Bank1950 AIR188(India)
- J&K Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. v. Iron and Steel Mazdoor Union, KanpurA.I.R.
1956 S.C. 231.(India)
- Harinagar Sugar Mills v. Shyam SunderA.I.R. 1961 S.C. 1669.(India)
- Durga Shankar Mehta v. Thakur Raghuraj Singh and Ors., A.I.R. 1954 S.C.
- Bharat Bank v. Representatives of Bharat BankA.I.R. 1950 S.C. 188(India
- Engineering Mazdoor Sabha v. Hind Cycles LtdA.I.R. 1963 S.C. 874(India)
- Durga Shankar Mehta v. Raghuraj SinghA.I.R. 1954 S.C. 520(India)
- Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd. v. Workmen A.I.R. 1567 S.C. 948(India)
- Madhya Pradesh Industries Ltd. v. Union of India A.I.R. 1966 S.C.
- Commissioner of Income Tax, Bombay v. Lakhiram Ramdas A.I.R. 1967 S.C.
- L. Chandra Kumar v. Relationship of India A.I.R. 1997 S.C. 1125.(India)
- Chandi Prasad Chokhani v. the State of BiharA.I.R. 1961 S.C.
- Durga Shankar Mehta v. Raghuraj Singh A.I.R. 1954 S.C. 520. (India)