SC verdict on nationwide fee to learn AFT, different tribunals


Chandigarh, November 27

The character and functioning of quasi-judicial bodies like the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) among others would change significantly after the Supreme Court (SC) today said a National Tribunal Commission shall be created to administer all tribunals.

Towards transparency

The order to set up a National Tribunal Commission would free the tribunals from executive control of the ministry in relation to which these were mandated to hear cases.

The ruling by a Bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and Ravindra Bhat would free the tribunals from the executive control of the ministry in relation to which these were mandated to hear cases.

The apex court has directed that till the commission is created, a separate wing shall be constituted under the Finance Ministry to look after all requirements of the tribunals, which from now on shall not be dependent upon ministries against which they may have to pass orders or judgments.

The court has expressed displeasure that multiple decisions of Constitution Benches have not been implemented by the Centre till date. There are several tribunals in India that were constituted for delivering speedy, inexpensive and decentralised adjudication of disputes in various matters such as service, tax, railway claims, environment and defence service.

The SC has also held that the secretary of the department concerned against whom orders are to be passed by the tribunal shall not have a say or vote in the selection of members for the tribunal.

Legal experts said the decision would free all tribunals from executive control and ensure their independence and boost confidence of litigants. The direct positive effect of the decision would be felt by tribunals such as the AFT and the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which were functioning under the same ministries which were the opposite parties in litigation before them and whose secretaries were selecting the adjudicating members of the said tribunals. — TNS



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