Need of Constituting National Tribunal Commission in India

Synopsis- The formation of the National Tribunal commission could transform the present tribunal system in India.

Introduction-
  • Recently, the Centre government has issued the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalization and Conditions of Service) Ordinance 2021.
  • The ordinance aims to abolished certain existing appellate tribunals and transferred their functions to other existing judicial bodies.
  • The ordinance also shortened the period for members of the tribunals to 4 years.
  • However, the ordinance has been widely criticized and is being challenged in the Supreme Court.
Reason for Criticism of the ordinance-
  1. First, the ordinance bypasses the usual legislative process.
  2. Second, the Center abolished tribunals such as the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal and the Intellectual Property Appellate Board, without any stakeholder consultation. 
  3. Third, No Judicial Impact Assessment (JIA) was conducted, before abolishing tribunals. Whereas, in Rojer Mathew v. South Indian Bank (2019) SC directed the government for JIA before any such step.
  4. Fourth, the ordinance has fixed a four-year tenure for Chairpersons and members of the tribunal. It is against the SC direction of fixing the 5- year term.
  5. Last, No National Tribunals Commission (NTC) was constituted for supervising tribunals. This idea was proposed in the L. Chandra Kumar v. Union of India (1997).
Need of National Tribunals Commission 
  • Executive interference– executive interference in the functioning of tribunals is common, especially in the appointment and removal of tribunal members, provision of finances, infrastructure, etc. Thus, the formation of NTC can remove this possibility.
  • Lack of independent supervisory body [such as NTC] to support the uniform functioning of the tribunals.
  • Inadequate infrastructure, lack of judicial independence, and sluggish conflict settlement.

All of these issues necessitated the establishment of the National tribunal Commission. It will be an independent umbrella body to supervise the functioning of tribunals, including the recruitment of members and disciplinary processes against them as well as the administrative and infrastructural needs of the tribunals.

Benefits of National Tribunals Commission (NTC)
  • It will provide administrative support across all tribunals.
  • It could separate the administrative and judicial functions carried out by various tribunals.
  • Further, it would set performance standards for the efficiency of tribunals and their own administrative processes.
  • Also, it will function as an independent recruitment body to develop and operationalize the procedure for disciplinary proceedings and tribunal member appointments.
  • Lastly, Speedy resolution of disputes.
Way forward-
  • NTC may ensure the functional, operational, and financial independence of tribunals.
  • Till the time NTC does not come into existence, the FM should come up with a transition plan.

Source- The Hindu

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