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President Promulgates Tribunals Reforms Ordinance; High Court Made Appellate Body Of Many Tribunals

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
5 April 2021 7:56 AM GMT
President Promulgates Tribunals Reforms Ordinance; High Court Made Appellate Body Of Many Tribunals
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The Central Government has notified the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021, to dissolve certain existing appellate bodies and transfer their functions to other existing judicial bodies. Whereas a Bill to the above effect as introduced in the Lok Sabha during the Budget Session 2021, it could not be taken up for consideration and passing....

The Central Government has notified the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021, to dissolve certain existing appellate bodies and transfer their functions to other existing judicial bodies.

Whereas a Bill to the above effect as introduced in the Lok Sabha during the Budget Session 2021, it could not be taken up for consideration and passing. Hence, the Centre has introduced the instant Ordinance in exercise of its powers under Article 123 of the Constitution, to the following effect:

Amendments to the Finance Act, 2017

Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017 has been amended to empower the Central Government to make rules for qualifications, appointment, term of office, salaries and allowances, resignation, removal and other terms and conditions of service of Members of Tribunals.

The Ordinance provides that the Chairperson and Members of the Tribunals will be appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of a Search-cum-Selection Committee. It also provides the composition of the Committee, to be headed by the Chief Justice of India or a Judge of Supreme Court nominated by him.

These changes are based on the directions issued by the Supreme Court last year in the Madras Bar Association case.

The 2017 Act provides that the Tribunal Members shall hold office for such term as specified in the rules made by the Central Government but not exceeding five years from the date on which he enters upon his office and shall be eligible for reappointment.

The Ordinance now amends this term to specify that the Chairperson of a Tribunal shall hold office for a term of 4 years or till he attains the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier. Other Members of a Tribunal shall hold office for a term of 4 years or till he attains the age of 67 years, whichever is earlier.

The Ordinance states that a person who has not completed the age of fifty years shall not be eligible for appointment as a Chairperson or Membe

 Other Amendments

The Ordinance omits following Tribunals/ Appellate Authorities from the purview of Finance Act:

  • Airport Appellate Tribunal established under the Airport Authority of India Act, 1994
  • Appellate Board established under the Trade Marks Act, 1999
  • Authority for Advance Ruling established under the Income Tax Act, 1961
  • Film Certification Appellate Tribunal established under the Cinematograph Act, 1952

Further, it substitutes the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission established under the erstwhile Consumer Protection Act, 1986 with a National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission established under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

Transfer of Appellate Functions

The Ordinance proposes to transfer the appellate functions of the:

  • Appellate Tribunal under Cinematograph Act, 1952 to the concerned High Court;
  • Appellate Board under Trade Marks Act, 1999 to the concerned High Court;
  • Appellate Board under Copyright Act, 1957 to the concerned Commercial Court or the Commercial Division of the concerned High Court;
  • Authority for Advance Rulings under the Customs Act, 1962 to the concerned High Court;
  • Appellate Board under Patents Act, 1970 to the concerned High Court;
  • Airport Appellate Tribunal under Airports Authority of India Act, 1994 to: (i) Central government, (ii) High Court, as specified;
  • Airport Appellate Tribunal under Control of National Highways (Land and Traffic) Act, 2002 to the concerned Civil Court;
  • Appellate Board under Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 to the concerned High Court.

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