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TRIBUNALS



Article 323-A and 323-B of the constitution deals with Administrative Tribunals and Other Tribunals. 

Tribunals are established by the Parliament and State Legislature for the settlement of dispute, complaints or offences with respect to the matters such as assessment and collection of taxes; foreign exchange, imports and exports; industrial and labour disputes; land reforms; land ceiling; production, procurement, supply and distribution of foodstuffs (including edible oilseeds and oils) etc. (Article 323B clause 2 of the Constitution Of India 1949).

1. Central Administrative Tribunals
The Central Administrative Tribunals are established to provide for the adjudication or trial of disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of any state or of any local or other authority in India or under the control of the Government of India or of any Government Corporation. Administrative Tribunals provide a speedy, relatively inexpensive and efficacious remedy to the employees who feel aggrieved. The Tribunal has been conferred the power to exercise the same jurisdiction and authority in respect of contempt of itself as a High Court.

The Central Administrative Tribunals comprises of a Chairman, who has been a sitting or retired Judge of a High Court and 16 Vice-Chairmen and 49 other Members. The employees of the Central Administrative Tribunal are required to discharge their duties under the general superintendence of the Chairman.

Parliament had enacted the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 with a view to reducing the overcrowding of pending cases in various High Courts and other Courts in the country. The Act came into force in July, 1985 and the Administrative Tribunals were established in November, 1985 at Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Allahabad. Today, there are 17 Benches of the Tribunal located throughout the country wherever the seat of a High Court is located, with 33 Division Benches.
2. Appellate Tribunal for Electricity

Appellate Tribunal for Electricity has been established by Ministry of Power, Govt. of India w.e.f. (World Economic Forum) on 7th April 2004. The Appellate Tribunal shall consist of a Chairperson and three other Members. Every Bench constituted by the Chairperson shall consist of at least one Judicial Member and one Technical Member.

Appellate Tribunal for Electricity is conferred with original jurisdiction to hear appeals or original petitions against the orders of the adjudicating officer or the Central Regulatory Commission or State Regulatory Commission or Joint Commission constituted under the Electricity Act, 2003. The act covers major issues involving generation, distribution, transmission and trading electricity.

Every appeal to the tribunal shall be filed within a period of forty-five days from the date on which a copy of the order made by the adjudicating officer or the Appropriate Commission received by the aggrieved person. If any person, who is not satisfied by the decision or order of the Appellate Tribunal, may, file an appeal to the Supreme Court within sixty days from the date of communication of the decision or order of the Appellate Tribunal, to him.

3. The Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT)
The Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) was formerly known as Customs, Excise & Gold (Control) Appellate Tribunal (CEGAT), was constituted on the 11th October 1982. CESTAT was established to provide an independent forum to hear the appeals against orders and decisions passed by the Designated Authority in the Ministry of Commerce. The Tribunal is also having the power to hear the appeals against orders passed by the designated authority with regard to Anti Dumping matters.

 The Tribunal consists of 21 Members including President,the administrative head of the tribunal and two Vice Presidents. The work of the Tribunal has been distributed among various Benches, comprising of Special Benches at Delhi consist of not less than two members, at least one being a Judicial Member and one a Technical Member. Regional Benches (one each located at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai) consist of two Members - one a Judicial Member and one a Technical Member. Special Benches deal with matters relating, among other things, to disputes about the rate of duty of custom or of excise (referred to as classification disputes) or to the value, of goods for purposes of assessment of duty of customs or of excise (referred to as valuation disputes). Regional Benches deal with matters other than those falling within the jurisdiction of the Special Benches. There is also a provision for Single Member Benches, which are competent to dispose of cases within the specified monetary limits falling within the jurisdiction of Regional Benches.

4. Debts Recovery Tribunal
Debts Recovery Tribunal are established by the central government for the expeditious adjudication and recovery of debts due to banks and financial institutions and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto (Recovery of Debt Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993( RDB Act)). The Debts Recovery Tribunal has the power to entertain and decide applications from the banks and financial institutions for recovery of debts due to such banks and financial institutions. The Debt Recovery Tribunal hear the appeals against orders passed by the Recovery Officers of the Tribunal.The Tribunal can hear cross suits, counter claims and allow set offs. However, they cannot hear claims of damages or deficiency of services or breach of contract or criminal negligence on the part of the lenders. 

The Government of India has constituted twenty-nine Debt Recovery Tribunal across the country. Some cities have more than one Debt Recovery Tribunal located therein. The setting up of a Debt Recovery Tribunal is dependant upon the number of cases. There are also  some States that do not have a Debt Recovery Tribunal. The Banks & Financial Institutions and other parties in these States have to go to Debt Recovery Tribunal located in other states having jurisdiction over these areas.

Each Debts Recovery is presided over by a Presiding Officer who is generally a judge of the rank of District and Sessions Judge. Presiding Officer of one Tribunal has the power to discharge also the functions of the Presiding Officer of another Tribunal. He is the sole judicial authority to hear and pass any judicial order. Each Debt Recovery Tribunal has two Recovery Officers. The Presiding Officer allocates the work amongst the Recovery Officers. Though a Recovery Officer need not be a judicial Officer, but the orders passed by a Recovery Officer are judicial in nature, and are appealable before the Presiding Officer of the Tribunal.

5. Debts Recovery Appellate Tribunal
Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal shall exercise jurisdiction, powers and authority to hear and adjudicate on appeals preferred against the judicial orders passed by the Presiding Officers of various Debt Recovery Tribunals. The Government of India has constituted five Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal across the country. Each Appellate Tribunal is presided over by a Chairperson by notification by the Central Government. Central Government may authorize the Chairperson of one Appellate Tribunal to discharge the functions of the Chairperson of the other Appellate Tribunal.

Chairperson of an Appellate Tribunal shall exercise general power of superintendence and control over the Tribunals under his jurisdiction including the power of appraising the work and recording the annual confidential reports of Presiding Officers. The Chairperson of an Appellate Tribunal having jurisdiction over the Tribunals may, on the application of any of the parties or on his own motion after notice to the parties and after hearing them, transfer any case from one Tribunal for disposal to any other Tribunal.

6. Intellectual Property Appellate Tribunal
The Government of India constituted the Intellectual Property Appellate Board /Tribunal by a Gazette notification of the Central Government in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on 15th September 2003. The Intellectual Property Appellate Board is established to hear and adjudicate appeals against the order or decision of the Registrar of Trademarks. Until the formation of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) all the appeals against the Registrar of Trademarks were heard only in the High Courts. But now Intellectual Property Appellate Board hears all the cases. This Appellate Tribunal consists of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and other Members.

 The main object of setting up of the IPAB is for the speedy disposal of appeals and the application of rectification pending before various high courts. So at present all the appeals against any order or decision of the registrar of trademarks and all cases pertaining to rectification of register pending before any High Court shall be transferred to the IPAB (Section 100 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999). Appeals related to Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) are also heard by the IPAB. The IPAB also has appellate jurisdiction to hear and adjudicate upon appeals from most of the decisions, orders or directions made by the Patent Controller. Every appeal to the IPAB should be filed within 3 months from the date of the decision, order or direction, as the case may be, or within such further time as the IPAB may permit.

7. Railway Claims Tribunals
The Central Government shall, by notification, establish a Claims Tribunal, to be known as the Railway Claims Tribunal to provide speedy disposal of claims against the Railway Administration. The Tribunal inquiring into and determining claims against the Railway Administration for loss, destruction, damage, deterioration or non-delivery of animals or goods entrusted to a railway administration for carriage by railway or for the refund of fares or freight or for compensation for death or injury to passengers occurring as a result of railway accidents or untoward incidents and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto laid down in the Railways Act 1989.

Railway Claims Tribunal has different Benches in different parts of the country. A Bench shall consist of a Chairman, four Vice-Chairmen, one Judicial Member and one Technical Member. The Chairman exercises the Jurisdiction, powers and authority of the Claims Tribunal. He may on the application of any of the parties and after notice to the parties, and after hearing such of them as he may desire to be heard, or on his own motion without such notice transfer any case pending before one Bench to any other Bench for disposal. In the absence of the Chairman due to illness or any other cause, such one of the Vice-Chairman shall discharge the functions of the Chairman as the Central Government may, by notification, authorize in this behalf, until the date on which the Chairman resumes his duties.

The Claims Tribunal shall have all the powers of a civil court. An appeal from every order of the Claims Tribunal shall lie to the High Court, which is having jurisdiction over the place where the Bench is located. Every appeal shall be preferred within a period of ninety days from the date of the order of the Tribunal.

8. Income Tax Appellate Tribunal
The Income Tax Appellate tribunal was constituted by the Central Government to dispose of appeals arising from assessments under the Income-tax Act1961.The Act deals with the income tax charged on the Net Income of a person. Income-tax Act, 1961 provides for levy, administration, collection and recovery of Income Tax.

The Tribunal at present functioning as the appellate Tribunal for all direct taxes which consists of Excess Profits Tax, Business Profits Tax, Wealth etc. The orders of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner under all the Tax Acts such as Gift Tax Act, Expenditure Tax Act, Super Profits Tax Act etc were made appealable to the Tribunal. Orders passed by the Appellate Controller of Estate Duty are also appealable to the Tribunal. Orders prejudicial to assessees passed by the Commissioner in exercise of his Revisional Jurisdiction also come up in appeal to the Tribunal.

The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal is a Tribunal exercising the judicial powers of the State. The headquarters of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal is located at Mumbai. There are 63 Benches functioning at 27 different places in the country. Bench exercising and discharging the powers of a Tribunal consists of the President, Senior Vice-President, Vice-President or any other Member sitting singly under the provisions of sub-section (3) of the Act. The President of the Tribunal exercises administrative control over all the Benches of the Tribunal. Appellate Tribunal is divided into nine zones (Income Tax Department). Vice-President is the head of each zone. A Bench shall hear and determine the appeals and applications made under the Income-tax Act, 1961 (section 43); as the President may by general or special order direct. If there are two or more Benches of the Tribunal working at any headquarters, the President or in the absence of the president, the Senior Vice-President/Vice-President of the concerned zone or in the absence of Senior Vice-President/Vice-President the senior most member of the station present at the headquarters transfer an appeal or an application from any one of such Benches to any other.