SC directs Law Commission to examine the ‘statutory framework of Tribunals’ [Read Judgment]

SC directs Law Commission to examine the ‘statutory framework of Tribunals’ [Read Judgment]


The Bench asked the Commission to examine whether it  is  permissible   and   advisable   to   provide appeals routinely to Supreme Court only on a question of law or substantial   question   of   law   which is   not   of national or public importance ?


A two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court has directed the Law Commission of India to examine various issues relating to the working of Tribunals including the desirability of providing statutory appeals directly to Supreme Court from orders of Tribunals on issues not affecting national or public interest and other aspects of statutory framework in respect of Tribunals.

While making the reference to Law Commission of India, the Bench observed as follows:

“We make it clear that as far as heavy pendency in this Court on account of liberal exercise of jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution of India is concerned, we do not wish to make any comment as this is a matter in the discretion of the Court and it is for the Court to address this issue. Our discussion is limited to the consideration of desirability of providing statutory appeals directly to this Court  from orders of Tribunals on issues not  affecting national   or   public   interest   and   other   aspects   of   statutory framework in respect of Tribunals as discussed above.”

The Bench comprising Justices Anil R Dave and AK Goel has directed the Commission to examine the following questions



  1. Whether any changes   in   the   statutory   framework constituting various Tribunals with regard to persons appointed, manner   of   appointment,   duration   of appointment, etc. is necessary in the light of judgment of Supreme Court in
    Madras Bar Association Case
    or on any other consideration from the point of view of strengthening the rule of law?

  2. Whether it is   permissible   and   advisable   to   provide appeals routinely to this Court only on a question of law or  substantial   question   of   law   which  is   not   of national   or  public   importance   without   affecting   the constitutional   role   assigned   to   the   Supreme   Court having   regard   to   the   desirability   of   decision   being rendered within reasonable time?

  3. Whether direct statutory appeals to the Supreme  Court  bypassing  the High Courts from the  orders  of  Tribunal  affects  access  to  justice  to litigants in remote areas of the country?

  4. Whether it is desirable to exclude jurisdiction of all courts   in   absence   of   equally   effective   alternative mechanism for access to justice at grass root level as has been done in provisions of TDSAT Act (Sections 14 and 15)

  5. Any other incidental or connected issue which may be considered appropriate.


The Bench  has observed that while there may be no lack of legislative competence with the Parliament to make provision for direct appeal to the Supreme Court from orders of Tribunals but the legislative competence is not   the   only   parameter  of  constitutionality.

"It can hardly   be gainsaid that routine appeals to the highest court may result in obstruction of the Constitutional role assigned to the highest court as observed above.   This may affect the balance required to be maintained by the highest court of giving priority to cases of national importance, for which larger Benches may be required to be constituted.   Routine direct appeals to the highest court in commercial   litigation   affecting   individual   parties   without   there being   any   issue   of   national   importance   may   call   for reconsideration   at   appropriate   levels.     Further   question   is composition   of   Tribunals   as   substitutes   for   High   Courts   and exclusion of High Court jurisdiction on account of direct appeals to this Court. Apart from desirability, constitutionality of such  provisions may need to be gone into", the Bench added.

Read the Judgment here.