Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 19


Submitted to:
Dr. Sridevi P
Assistant Professor of Law

Submitted by:
Permanika Chuckal
VIth Semester

Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University

1 | Page


I would like to express my special appreciation and thanks to my advisor, my Faculty , who
has been a tremendous mentor for me. I would like to thank you for encouraging my research,
advice for the research has been priceless.
I would extend my thanks to the University Authorities, for providing me with is opportunity
to submit my project. I am indebted to all those who have helped me in developing this
project for their suggestion and guidance.

Permanika Chuckal

2 | Page

Research Methodology


Evolution of Tribunal System in India
Types of Administrative Tribunals
Features of Tribunals in India
Appeal from Administrative Tribunal to Supreme Court
Judicial Interpretation
Advantages of Administrative Tribunal
Disadvantages of Administrative Tribunal
Status and Working in India


3 | Page

Aims and Objective:
The researcher aims to study the evolution of administrative tribunal system in India taking
into account its types, features, advantages, disadvantages and also its status and working in
India. It also aims to study its Judicial Interpretation.
Nature of Project:
This project is descriptive as well as analytical in nature, with special emphasis having being
supplied to analysis.
Sources of Data:
The sources of data used for this project are secondary in nature. A host of leading textbooks
relating to Administrative Law will be referred to. Case reporters like Supreme Court Cases,
All India Reporter, and Criminal Law Journal etc will be used.
Scope and Limitation:
Administrative law determines the organization, powers and duties of administrative
authorities. The emphasis of Administrative Law is on procedures for formal adjudication
based on the principles of Natural Justice and for rule making.
Methodology: The researcher uses both analytical and descriptive methods in presenting the
Sources: Only secondary sources of data are used.
Mode of citation: A uniform mode of citation is used
Hypothesis: Administrative law specifies the rights and liabilities of private individuals in
their dealings with public officials and also specifies the procedures by which those rights
and liabilities can be enforced by those private individuals. It provides accountability and
responsibility in the administrative functioning.

4 | Page

Welfare nature of government is the evolutionary goal of probably every kind of government
these days in this contemporary world. There has been a phenomenal increase in the functions
of the government, which has lent enormous powers to the executive and also led to increase
in the legislative output. This has led to more litigation, restrictions on the freedom
of the individuals and constant frictions between them and the authority. The development
of welfares led to an increase in governmental functions and the executive saw in this a need
to perform a number of quasi- legislative and

quasi- judicial functions, thus blurring the

traditional positions of the various wings of the government under the doctrine of separation
of powers, under which the powers of the government were divided between the legislature,
executive and the judiciary which were to be entrusted with the power of making law,
executing it and interpreting the law respectively.
But now these welfare states changed radically and involve itself in the hosting of wide
socio-economic activities; for example: providing health services, education, industrial
regulation and other allied welfare measures. Now where there is these kind of activities;
disputes are certain and obvious. The issues which arose from disputes on such matters raised
not only legal matters but also matters which affect the society at large. The constitution and
function of our court system is very traditional as well as inefficient. The inherent procedural
limitations made it difficult for the courts to dispose these cases promptly thus leading to a
huge backlog of cases in all levels of the judiciary. Courts therefore became deluged with
litigations arising directly and incidentally from such increased governmental interventions. It
was also felt in many quarters that the members of the judiciary were neither adequately
trained nor equipped to deal with the complex socio-economic and technical matters at hand.
Thus it was felt specialised adjudicatory bodies such as tribunals needed to be created to
resolve such disputes fairly and effectively.1

Power of adjudication must be derived from a statute or statutory rule.

It must possess the trappings of a court and thereby be vested with the power to

summon witnesses, administer oath, compel production of evidence, etc.

Tribunals are not bound by strict rules of evidence.
They are to exercise their functions objectively and judicially and to apply the law and
resolve disputes independently of executive policy.

1 Serwai ,HM, Constitutionsl law of India

5 | Page

Tribunals are supposed to be independent and immune from any administrative

interference in the discharge of their judicial functions.


In India, administrative adjudication increased after independence and several welfare laws
were promulgated which vested the power on deciding various issues in the hands of the
administration. The modern Indian Republic was born a Welfare State and thus the burden on
the government to provide a host of welfare services to the people was immense. These
quasi-judicial powers acquired by the administration led to a huge number of cases with
respect to the manner in which these administrative bodies arrived at their decisions. The
Courts held that these bodies must maintain procedural safeguards while arriving at their
decisions and observe principles of natural justice-their opinions were substantiated by the
14th Law Commission Report.2 In order to avoid clogging the judicial machinery with cases
which would have arisen by the operation of these new socio-economic legislations, a
number of tribunals were established by the government. The tribunals were established with
the object of providing a speedy, cheap and decentralised determination of disputes arising
out of the various welfare legislations.3 Another important reason for the new development is
that law courts, on account of their elaborate procedures, legalistic fronts and attitudes can
hardly render justice to the parties concerned, in technical cases. Ordinary judges, brought up
in the traditions of law and jurisprudence, are not capable enough to understand technical
problems, which crop up in the wake of modem complex economic and social processes.
Only administrators having expert knowledge can tackle such problems judiciously. To meet
this requirement, a number of administrative tribunals have come into existence.


In pursuance of Art 323-A Parliament has passed the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985
covering all matters falling within the clause (1) of Article 323- A. This Act authorises central
government to establish administrative tribunals for central services and on the application of
2 Nayak, R., Administrative justice In India, Butterwoths : New Delhi, 1989, p.38
3 Jain, M.P., Principles of Administrative Law, Wadhwa & Company : Nagpur, 1996, pp.246-248
6 | Page

States even for States services as well as for local bodies and other authorities including
public corporation. From the date of establishment of tribunals all courts except the Supreme
Court under Art 136 lose their jurisdiction with respect to the matter falling within the
jurisdiction of the tribunals.
A tribunal shall consist of Chairman and such number of Vice-Chairmen and other members
as appropriate Government may deem fit. They are appointed by the President in the case of
Central tribunals and by the President in consultation with the Governors or Governors in
case of State or joint Tribunals. The qualifications regarding that are laid down in the
Act.4Other aspects regarding administrative Tribunals are being discussed below different
headings and sub-headings.
There are different types of administrative tribunals, which are governed by the statues, rules,
and regulations of the Central Government a sell as State Governments.
Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)
The enactment of Administrative Tribunals Act in, 1985 opened a new chapter in
administering justice to the aggrieved government servants. It owes its origin to Article 323
A of the Constitution which empowers the Central Government to set up by an Act of
Parliament, the Administrative Tribunals for adjudication of disputes and complains with
respective recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to the public services
and posts in connection with the Union and the States.
The Tribunals enjoy the powers of the High Court in respect of service matters of the
employees covered by the Act. They are not bound by the technicalities of the Code of
Civil Procedure, but have to abide by the Principles of Natural Justice. They are
distinguished from the ordinary courts with regard to their jurisdiction and procedures. This
makes them free from the shackles of the ordinary courts and enables them to
provide speedy and inexpensive justice. The Act provides for the establishment of




State Administrative Tribunals. The CAT was

established 1985. The Tribunal consists of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Members. These

4 Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 http://cgat.gov.in/act.htm as on 25th march,2015

7 | Page

Members are drawn from the judicial as well as the administrative streams. The appeal
against the decisions of the CAT lies with the Supreme Court of India.

Election Commission (EC)

The Election Commission is a tribunal for adjudication of matters pertaining to the allotment
of election symbols to parties and similar other problems. The decision of the commission
can be challenged in the Supreme Court.
Foreign Exchange Regulation Appellate Board (FERAB)
The Board has been set up under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973. A person who
is aggrieved by an order of adjudication for causing breach or committing offences under the
Act can file an appeal before the FERAB.
Income Tax Appellate Tribunal
This tribunal has been constituted under the Income Tax Act, 1961.

The Tribunal has its




various cities and appeals can







persons against the order passed by the Deputy Commissioner or Commissioner


Chief Commissioner or Director of income tax. An appeal against the order of the

Tribunal lies to the High Court. An appeal also lies to the Supreme Court if the High Court
deems fit.
Railway Rates Tribunal
This-Tribunal was set up under the Indian Railways Act, 1989. It adjudicates matters
pertaining to the complaints against the railway administration. These may be related to the
discriminatory or unreasonable rates, unfair charges or preferential treatment meted out by
the railway 'administration. The appeal against the order of the Tribunal lies with the
Supreme Court.

Industrial Tribunal
8 | Page

This Tribunal has been set up under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. It can be constituted
by' both the Central as well as State governments.

The Tribunal looks into

the dispute

between the employers and the workers in matters relating to wages, the period and mode
of payment, compensation and other allowances, hours of work, gratuity, retrenchment and
closure of the establishment. The appeals against the decision of the Tribunal lie with the
Supreme Court.
Jurisdiction and Power:

After the coming into force of Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 5, all judicial
remedies save those of the Supreme Court under Art 2 and 136 have been abolished
and the pending proceeding before other courts stand transferred before the regional

Administrative Tribunals under s.29 of the Act.

Administrative Tribunal is competent to exercise all powers which the respective
courts had, including declaration as to constitutionality of relevant laws. In short, the
jurisdiction of the Tribunal is not supplementary but is a complete substitute of the

High Courts and Civil Courts6.

In view of s.14 of the Administrative Tribunal Act,1985, in case where the suit lay, the
employee will now have to seek his remedy by application under s.19 of the Act.
Pending suits shall stand transferred to the Administrative Tribunal having territorial

jurisdiction under section 29 of the Act.7

Section 29A (inserted in 1986) gives an appellant jurisdiction of the Central
Administrative Tribunal. Appeals from judgement of Civil Courts in suits relating to
service matter which are now governed by the A.T. Act shall lie to the Administrative
Tribunals to the exclusion of any other Civil Appellant Court or the High
Court. The central Administrative Tribunal is the Tribunal constituted under Art.323-

5 The Act was brought into force with effect from 2-10-1985. The Central Administrative Tribunals
was set up on 1-11-1985
6 Sampat Kumar, SP v. Union of India,(1987) 1 ATR 34
7 Cf. Kaptan Singh v, UOI (1986) 4 SLR 545 (Del)
9 | Page

A of the Constitution and is expected to have the same jurisdiction as that of High

Orders of the Central Administrative Tribunals are nt open to challenge before the
High Court.

Sources of Tribunals Jurisdiction-

Suit of proceeding transferred to it under s.29 of the Act

S.19 deals with jurisdiction of entertaining original application relating to

service matters.
Appellant jurisdiction under s.29A

Unconstitutionality of Law

The tribunal can declare the unconstitutional a statute or subordinate legislation

relating to the dispute before it, which contravenes provisions of the constitution.
Whether a body would be an authority within the meaning of Art.12.
In a case where enquiry has been dispensed with under the 2nd proviso to Art 311(2),

the tribunal is competent to examine the legal jurisdiction for such dispensation.9
It may decide question of law, including preliminary pleas in bar, e.g. limitation;
nonjoinder of party; territorial jurisdiction of the tribunal; res judicata.


A Tribunal is not barred by the provisions of the Evidence Act. 10 In order to discover
the truth, the Tribunal may resort to the inquisitional procedure, provided no principle

of natural justice is violated.

Tribunals shall be guided solely by the principles of natural justice unfettered by

anything in the CPC and shall have the power to regulate its own procedure.
A plea of violation of statutory provision can be taken before the Tribunal though not
taken in the petition.

8 UOI v. K D Batish AIR 2006 SC 789

9 Om Prakash Pathak v. UOI (1986) 4 SLR 251
10 G Mohanti v. UOI ATR (1987) 1 CAT 229
10 | P a g e

It is competent to execute its own order, though the A.T Act has no specific provision
in this behalf.

Disciplinary matters:
The Tribunal is competent to go into the facts and set aside the order passed by a disciplinary
authorityWhere the conclusion arrived at is arbitrary or perverse. On the other hand , the Tribunal will
not interfere

with the finding of facts of the enquiry officers where there was some evidence before
him on the basis of which he could reasonably come to the conclusion that the charges

against the petitioner were proved .

with an order of rejection, by the Tribunal , of an application for reinstatement on the

grounds of inordinate and unexplained delay.

There has been some difference of opinion amongst the tribunals as to how far, if at
all, they may interfere with the punishment awarded by a disciplinary authority


1. Though the jurisdiction of High Court under Art 226 over service matter has been taken
over by the respective Administrative Tribunals Act 1985, the jurisdiction of the Supreme
Court over these Tribunals under Art.136 has been retained.
2. Appeals lies to the Supreme Court from orders of an Administrative Tribunal, by special
leave under Art 136, on the following grounds

11 | P a g e

Error of Law
Finding of the Tribunal being perverse.
The order of the Tribunal being without jurisdiction or ultra vires.
The order of the Tribunals being arbitrary or mala fide.
The order of the Tribunal is such as would lead to grave injustice.

As mentioned earlier, the Administrative Tribunals Act was passed in 1985 under article
323A and section 28 of this Act provided for the exclusion of jurisdiction of all courts except
that of the Supreme Court under Article 13611. This fuelled a sudden spurt in the number of
cases that challenged the validity of the said legislation as well as that of the 42nd Amendment
that introduced Articles 323A and 323B in to the constitution. Some of the prominent case in
this regard is discussed below.
Sambamurthy v. State of Andhra Pradesh
It was held in this case that Article 371D (5) of the constitution, which was inserted by the
Constitution (32nd Amendment) Act,1973, was unconstitutional and void. This provision had
enabled the Government of Andhra Pradesh to modify or nullify any order of the
Administrative tribunal of that state. It was pointed out that such a provision was violative of the
basic structure as it made the tribunal not as effective as the High Court when it comes to
judicial review. Here the Court seems to be strictly adhering to the directive in Sampath Kumars
case that the administrative tribunals should be effective substitutes to the High Court.12
J.B.Chopra v. Union of India
It was held that13 since the Administrative tribunals are meant to be substitutes of High Courts,
their power of judicial review extended to power as to decide on the constitutionality of service
rules. However, soon we see a reversal of trend leading to a lot of confusion. In
M.B.Majumdar v. Union of India14 the Supreme Court refused to extend the service conditions
and other benefits enjoyed by ordinary High Court judges to the members of these Tribunals.
Three years later, in R.K.Jain v. Union of India15, the Supreme Court opined that these
11 Joshi, K. C., Legal Status of Tribunals, IBR, Vol. 25 (2), 1998
12 (1987) I SCC 386
131987) I SCC 422.
14 1990) 4 SCC 501
15( 1993) 4 SCC 119
12 | P a g e

Tribunals could not be effective substitutes of High Courts under Articles 226 and 227. We also
find very clear expression of dissatisfaction of the apex court regarding the functioning
and effectiveness of Administrative Tribunals especially with regard to their power of judicial

Sakinala Harinath v. State of Andhra Pradesh16

In this case, the Andhra Pradesh High Court dropped a bomb shell by expressing serious doubts
about the wisdom of the learned Judges in Sampath Kumars case. The Full Bench ruled that the
ruling in the above case equating Administrative Tribunals to the High courts with respect to
their jurisdiction under Articles 226 and 227 was inconsistent with the apex courts ruling in
cases like Kesavanda Bharati v. State of Kerala17 and Indira Gandhi v. RajNarain18. It was
pointed out that the constitutional courts could only exercise the power of judicial review. Since
the logic of alternative institutional mechanism propounded in Sampath Kumars case does not
fit in to this scheme, it is constitutionally impermissible. As a result both Articles 323A(d) and
section 28 of the Act were struck down as unconstitutional.
The judicial green signal given for tribunalisation given in Sampath Kumar can be seen to be
slowly fading because of the subsequent decisions.The confusion created by these conflicting
decisions ushered in the need for taking a second look at S.P. Sampath Kumars case.


opportunity arrived when a three judge bench of the Supreme Court in L. Chandrakumar v.
Union of India28 decided to refer the matter to a larger bench.

This eventually led to the

famous ruling of the Seven Judge Bench of the Supreme Court on L. Chandrakumar v. Union of
India, which is now the law of the land.
L. Chandrakumars Case


The important issues considered by the apex court were as follows:

16 1993 (2) An. W.R.484 (FB)
17 (1973) 4 SCC 225
18 AIR 1975 SC 2291
19 AIR 1995 SC 1151
13 | P a g e

1. Whether Art. 323A (2) (d) and Art.323B (3) (d) of the constitution which give the power to
the Union and State Legislatures to exclude the jurisdiction of all courts except that of the
Supreme Court under Art.136, is in accordance with the power of judicial review embodied in
Art.32 and 226.
2. Whether the power of High Courts to exercise the powers of superintendence over the
subordinate judiciary under Articles 226 and 227 form part of Basic Structure.
3. The competence of the aforesaid tribunals to determine the constitutionality of any law.
4. Whether the aforesaid tribunals are acting as affective substitutes to High Courts in terms of

It was held that the power of judicial review over legislative and administrative action is
expressly vested with the High Courts and the Supreme Court under Articles 226 and 32
respectively. The contention that the constitutional safeguards which ensure the independence of
the higher judiciary29 is not available to the lower judiciary and bodies such as Tribunals was
upheld and the Apex Court consequently held that the lower judiciary would not be able to
serve as effective substitutes to the higher judiciary in matters of constitutional
interpretation and judicial review. Hence the power of judicial review is vested in the higher
judiciary and the power of High Courts and the Supreme Court to test the constitutional validity
of legislative and administrative action cannot ordinarily be ousted. However it was held that
these tribunals and the lower judiciary could exercise the role of judicial review as supplement
to the superior judiciary. The court applied the provisions of Article 32(3) to uphold the same.
Administrative adjudication is a dynamic system of administration, which serves, more
adequately than any other method, the varied and complex needs of the modem society. The
main advantages of the administrative tribunals are:
Administrative adjudication has brought about flexibility and adaptability in the judicial as
well as administrative tribunals. For instance, the courts of law exhibit a good deal of
conservatism and inelasticity of outlook and approach. The justice they administer may
14 | P a g e

become out of harmony with the rapidly changing social conditions. Administrative
adjudication, not restrained by rigid rules of procedure and canons of evidence, can
remain in tune with the varying phases of social and economic life.
Adequate Justice
In the fast changing world of today, administrative tribunals are not only the most
appropriated means of administrative action, but also the most effective means of giving fair
justice to the individuals. Lawyers, who are more concerned about aspects of law, find it
difficult to adequately assess the needs of the modem welfare society and to locate the
individuals place in it.
Less Expensive
Administrative justice ensures cheap and quick justice. As against this, procedure in the law
courts is long and cumbersome and litigation is costly. It involves payment of huge court
fees, engagement of lawyers and meeting of other incidental charges.


adjudication, in most cases, requires no stamp fees. Its procedures are simple and can be
easily understood by a layman.
Relief to Courts
The system also gives the much-needed relief to ordinary courts of law, which are already
overburdened with ordinary suits.
Even though administrative adjudication is essential and useful in modem day administration,
we should not be blind to the defects from which it suffers or the dangers it poses to a
democratic polity. Some of the main drawbacks are mentioned below.

Administrative adjudication is a negation of Rule of Law. Rule of Law ensures

equality before law for everybody and the supremacy of ordinary law and due
procedure of law over governmental arbitrariness. But administrative tribunals,
with their separate laws and procedures often made by themselves, puts a serious

limitation upon the celebrated principles of Rule of Law.

Administrative tribunals have in most cases, no set procedures and sometimes they
violate even the principles of natural justice.

15 | P a g e

Administrative tribunals often hold summary trials and they do not follow any

precedents. As such it is not possible to predict the course of future decisions.

The civil and criminal courts have a uniform pattern of administering justice and





administration of

civil and



have borne testimony to the advantages of uniform procedure. A uniform code of

procedure in administrative adjudication is not there.

Administrative tribunals are manned by administrators and technical heads who may
not have the background of law or training of judicial work. Some of them may not
possess the independent outlook of a judge.


Tribunals are essentially those bodies of the Executive branch of the government who by
virtue of some statutory provision have the power and duty to act judicially in determining
disputes which come before it.20 Tribunals as stated earlier are distinct from the ordinary
courts of the land and as per Chandrakumars case they are not on par with the High Courts
but serve a supplemental function to the High Courts. They are therefore subject to the writ
jurisdiction of the superior judiciary and to the power of judicial review exercisable by the
superior judiciary. In most of the tribunals appeals from their decisions lie in the High Court
on substantial questions of law.
There are different types of tribunals in India, ranging from single member tribunals to
multimember tribunals. Tribunals such as the Industrial tribunal may consist of one or more
members, and they can be appointed by the appropriate government. The chairman of the
tribunal is supposed to possess judicial qualifications and is supposed to be or have been a
judge of the High Court or a District judge or be qualified for appointment as a High Court
judge. The other members are expected to satisfy the prescribed requirements- which are to
ensure that the members are experts and will be able to speedily and effectively dispose of
matters. The procedure to be followed by the tribunal is prescribed by the Act and rules made
there under. Though the function of the tribunal is to adjudicate on the disputes it has only
some of the trappings of the court. It is not bound by strict rules of procedure and can take
decisions by exercising its discretion. While accepting the fact that such tribunals must work
towards furthering social justice, it has been held in J&K Iron and Steel Co. v. Mazdoor
Union that tribunal cannot act beyond the scope of the law. It can decide the dispute on the
20 Chakraverti, S., Administrative Law and Tribunals, 2nd edition, The Law Book Co. Ltd.: Allahabad
16 | P a g e

basis of the pleadings and has no power to reach a conclusion without any evidence on
record. The tribunal is expected to hold the proceedings in public, follow fair procedure and
decide disputes impartially and independently.
All tribunals in India are arranged on the following basis:

Created by a statute
subject to the writ jurisdiction of the superior judiciary and to judicial review.
Manned by experts and persons with judicial experience.
subject to the superintendence of the concerned High Court under Art.227
Decisions may be final or appealable within the tribunal or in certain cases to the
High Court. appeals against orders of the tribunal may be heard by the Supreme Court
by special leave under Art. 136.


Administrative tribunals must act openly, fairly and impartially. They must afford a
reasonable opportunity to the parties to represent their case and adduce evidence. Thus, in
State of U.P. v. Md. Nooh21 where the prosecutor was also an adjudcating officer and also in
Dhakeshwari Mills22 where the tribunal did not disclose some evidence to the assessee which
was relied upon, the decisions were set aside.
In Union of India v. T.R. Verma23 the Supreme Court held the following to be part of
natural justice:
a)Party must be able to adduce all evidence being relied upon.
Evidence must be taken in the presence of both parties.
Must be given opportunity to cross- examine.
And no material must be relied upon without giving the party opportunity to
explain the evidence.
Tribunals are free to evolve their own method of procedure as long as they conform to
the principles of natural justice as outlined above.

21 AIR 1958 SC 86
22 AIR 1955 SC154
23 AIR 1957 SC 882 at 885
17 | P a g e



of the









administrative tribunals are expected to play an important role in the redressal of citizens'
grievances. In this unit we have examined the nature of administrative tribunals and the
various reasons for their groping importance. Various types of administrative tribunals are set

in the

country to address various issues, such as, the adjudication of disputes and

complaints of the public servants, redressed of consumer disputes, industrial disputes,

disputes pertaining to income tax etc.
They provide greater flexibility in administering justice and provide relief to the courts. But
at the same time they suffer from some limitations as they sometimes violate the principles of
natural justice, lack uniform pattern of administering justice and also suffer from the lack of a
proper background on law or judicial work. However, with certain safeguards it is possible
to rectify some of these limitations.

The administrative tribunals should have people with

legal training and experience. A code of judicial procedures should be devised and enforced
for their functioning.

18 | P a g e


Books Referred

Chakraverti, S., Administrative Law and Tribunals, 2nd edition, The Law Book Co. Ltd.:

Joshi, K. C., Legal Status of Tribunals, IBR, Vol. 25 (2), 1998
Jain,M.P., Principles of Administrative Law, Wadhwa & Company : Nagpur, 1996

Websites referred

www.lawyersclubindia.com ,as on 25th march 2015

www.answers.com,as on 24th march 2015
www.etymonline.com,as on 24th march 2015
http://cgat.gov.in/act.htm ,as on 25th march 2015

19 | P a g e