Tribunal Reforms Bill, 2021 passed by the Parliament abolishing 9 appellate Tribunals

Team SoOLEGAL 10 Aug 2021 4:00pm

Tribunal Reforms Bill, 2021 passed by the Parliament abolishing 9 appellate Tribunals

On Monday, i.e., August 9, 2021, Rajya Sabha passed the proposed bill on tribunals seeking to eliminate 9 appellate tribunals including FCAT i.e., Film Certification Appellate tribunal. The same bill was approved by the Lok Sabha on August 3, 2021.

Smt. Nirmala Sitaram, the finance minister while responding to the discussion on the bill, opposed the charge that the new bill threatens the judicial system. She asserted that the government “fully respects” the freedom of the judiciary.

The bill seeks to amend the Customs act, 1962, the Cinematograph Act, 1952, the Airports Authority of India Act, 1994, the Trade Marks Act, 1999, the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Right Act, 2001 and some other enactments.

Further, the finance minister rejected the contention that the bill was against Supreme Court judgments, and stated that the legislature’s primacy to form laws is as important as the freedom of judiciary.

And amongst all the MPs only 44 voted in favour and 79 against the bill.

Some of the tribunals which the bill attempts to eradicate are the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999; the Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers' Rights Act, 2001; & the Control of National Highways (Land & Traffic) Act, 2002.

The objective of the bill states that pending cases before any above-mentioned tribunals will be transferred to a Commercial Court or High Court. According to the new legislation, rules and regulations for all chairpersons and members of different tribunals will be uniform.

The Rationalisation of tribunals was started by the Government back in 2015. 7 tribunals were merged or abolished through the Finance Act, 2017 based on their functionality. The total number of tribunals was reduced to 19 from 26. The principle followed in the first phase was to eliminate unnecessary tribunals and merge tribunals based on their functionality.

According to the data analysis of the past 3 years shows that tribunals in various sectors have not served their purpose of early disposal of the case and they are also at a significant expense to the exchequer.

On February 13, 2021, the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation & Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021, was presented in the Lok Sabha proposing to, “abolish certain more tribunals & authorities & to provide for a mechanism to file an appeal directly to the Commercial Court or the High Courts, as the case may be.”

Since the bill was not passed in the Budget Session of the Parliament and due to the necessity of immediate legislation, the President enacted the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation & Conditions of Service) Ordinance 2021on April 4, 2021.

Smt. Nirmala Sitaram withdrew the previous bill, while the new one was presented in the lower house. 

Tagged: Tribunal Reforms Bill   Rajya Sabha   lok Sabha   Film Certification Appellate tribunal   Nirmala Sitaram   Customs act   Cinematograph Act   Airports Authority of India Act   Trade Marks Act   Farmers Right Act   Supreme Court   judiciary   High Court   Commercial Court  
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