|Demand of the question Introduction. What is a quasi-judicial body? Body. Discuss various features of Quasi-judicial bodies with examples. Mention advantages and issues of Quasi-Judicial Bodies in India. Conclusion. Way forward.|
A quasi-judicial body is a body which has powers and procedures resembling those of a court of law or judge such as an arbitrator or tribunal board. It is obliged to objectively determine facts and draw conclusions from them so as to provide the basis of an official action. Their powers are usually limited to a very specific area of expertise and authority, such as land use and zoning, financial markets, public standards etc. National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Women, National Commission for Minorities, etc. are examples of quasi-judicial bodies.
Features of Quasi-judicial bodies:
- Similar to law imposing bodies: Quasi-Judicial bodies are institutes which have power similar to law imposing bodies but these are not courts. The courts have the power to supervise over all types of disputes but the quasi-judicial bodies are the ones with the powers of imposing law on administrative agencies.
- Specific purpose: These are created for specific purpose. For example,
- National river water dispute tribunal: National river water dispute tribunal has the power to grant the award to share the water among disputing states.
- Central administrative tribunal: This is constituted to look into the matter related to service dispute of civil servants. For example determination of age of civil servant in case of dispute etc.
- National Human right commission: National Human Rights Commission is a quasi-judicial body which looks into cases of specifically Human Rights violation. It was established under the Human right act 1993. They can investigate human right abuse and can recommend the steps to be taken.
- Election commission: It is constitutional bodies that mainly function for the conduct, control, supervise the election. It also performs judicial function e.g. determination of disqualification of Member of legislator or examining the violation of model code of conduct.
- Other regulatory bodies: SEBI, TRAI, IRDA etc. are some other quasi-judicial regulatory bodies. Their main function is to ensure transparency in the market economy. They also take judicial measures e.g. punishing in case of violation of rules through fines etc.
- Nature of bodies: They can be statutory, regulatory or constitutional in nature. For example, the National Human Rights Commission is a statutory body, while Finance Commission is a constitutional body created under Article 280. Whereas SEBI is a regulatory body which performs judicial functions too.
- Expertise: These bodies need not only be headed by a judge rather experts too can be included having sectoral knowledge like Finance, Economics, and Law etc.
- Judicial review: Verdict of these bodies can be challenged in a court of law which is the final authority.
Advantages of Quasi-Judicial Bodies:
- Low Cost: In the conventional judicial process, a large section of the population hesitate from approaching the Courts, thus defeating the purpose of justice. Tribunals on the other hand, have an overall low cost which encourages people to seek redressal for their grievances.
- Simplicity: Tribunals and other such bodies do not follow any lengthy or complex procedure for submitting application or evidence etc.
- Expert Knowledge: A tribunal comprises experts, who can easily understand the technicalities of a case, the necessary actions involved and their consequences.
- Reduction of Workload: Tribunals while taking up specific matters, majorly help by sharing the massive workload of the Judiciary. In a country which has 2.81 crore pending cases, it is important to take steps to decrease the burden of the Judiciary.
Issues in Quasi-Judicial Bodies:
- Funding: Public funding is not available for tribunals so one side may be at a disadvantage if the parties can afford a lawyer to represent them, making the process unfair.
- False cases: While lower costs of Tribunals encourage people to fight for justice, they also invite a lot of ill-founded claims.
- Burden: Though the concept and working of Tribunals and Quasi-Judicial Bodies is still new to our country, they mostly remain understaffed and burdened with the ever increasing number of cases, because of which they find it difficult to perform their functions smoothly.Many times the decision given by a Tribunal is challenged in a High Court by the losing party, which defies the purpose of Tribunals.
As a whole, a quasi-judicial body is a good concept as it reduces the burden on Judiciary but there are some loopholes there in this system also. Govt should choose individuals with both technical and legal knowledge and providing them with power to take decisions will be a booster to this organ of Government.