Saturday, November 28, 2020

Landmark decision by Supreme Court of India on ensuring independence and efficiency of tribunals

The Supreme Court of India has (yet again) passed detailed directions for ensuring independence and efficiency of tribunals in India. A report on the same is available at this link of
The Tribune

Relying upon existing decisions on the subject by various Constitution Benches of the Court, a slew of directions have been passed to ensure non-interference of the executive in the functioning of tribunals.

Gist of the main directions in the decision is as follows:

A. An independent authority called the National Tribunal Commission to be created for handling all issues pertaining to tribunals in India.

B. Till the time the said commission is created, matters concerning tribunals to be handled by a single wing under the Ministry of Finance and not by parent ministries against which orders have to be passed by the tribunals.

C. The Secretary of the Department against which orders are to be passed by tribunals would not be a part of the selection panel for the said tribunal. For example, the Defence Secretary would not have a selection vote for selecting members of the Armed Forces Tribunal, the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Forests would not be a part of the selections in National Green Tribunal.

D. Members would be provided an enhanced tenure of 5 years to ensure continuity.

Madras Bar Association through Mr Arvind Datar, Senior Advocate, was the lead Petitioner in the matter, and writ petitions filed by other Bar Associations were tagged with the same bunch.

Other directions can be analysed by perusing the full decision which is available here.

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