Tribunals Current Affairs - 2019

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Government to wind up 8 tribunals

The Lok Sabha has approved amendments to The Finance Bill, 2017 proposed by the Union Government to wind up eight tribunals

These eight tribunals currently exclusively deal with disputes pertaining to employees’ provident fund (EPF), Competition law, Airports economic regulation, IT law, National highways, railways, copyrights and Forex.

The amendments in the Finance Bill of 2017 also has proposed changes in the norms for tribunals, appellate tribunals and other boards associated with the administration of 17 central laws.

8 major tribunals that will cease to operate are
  • Competition Appellate Tribunal: Its work now has will be transferred to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal.
  • Airports Economic Regulatory Authority Appellate Tribunal (AERAAT) and Cyber Appellate Tribunal: Their functions will now be discharged by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).
  • EPF Appellate Tribunal: Its works will be transferred to the Industrial Tribunal that examines matters under the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947.
  • Cases under the Foreign Exchange Management Act of 1999: They will be transferred to Appellate Tribunal constituted under Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act, 1976.
  • National Highways Tribunal: Now Highway disputes will now be adjudicated by the Airport Appellate Tribunal set up under the Airport Authority of India (AAI) Act,1994.
  • Railways Rates Tribunal: It was established for hearing matters under the Railways Act, 1989. Its workload will be transferred to the Railway Claims Tribunal.
  • Copyright Board: It was responsible for enforcing of the Copyright Act of 1957. Now it will be transferred to the Intellectual Property Appellate Board set up under the Trademarks Act of 1999.

High Court’s cannot entertain plea against Armed Forces Tribunal: Supreme Court

Supreme Court has barred High Courts (HCs) from entertaining pleas under writ jurisdiction against the verdicts of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) in disputes pertaining to Armed forces.  SC ruling also set aside the order of Delhi High Court which had allowed the writ petition against army personnel.

This judgment was given by two member SC bench comprising of Justices SJ Mukhopadhaya and NV Ramana.

The SC bench was hearing a bunch of appeals that had questioned whether the right of appeal under Section 30 of the Armed Forces Tribunal (ATF) Act, 2007 against an order of the Tribunal. It also questioned whether it will bar the jurisdiction of the HC under Article 226 of the Constitution regarding matters related to Armed Forces.

Supreme Court held that

  • If the HC entertains a petition under Article 226 against the order passed by AFT, it would by-pass the machinery of statute as enshrined in the AFT Act.
  • Thus it may result in of anomalous situation for the aggrieved person in praying for relief from HC.
  • So SC barred HCs from entertaining pleas under writ jurisdiction against the verdicts of AFT.

It should be noted that Section 30 of AFT Act stipulates that an appeal against the final decision or order of the Tribunal shall lie in the Supreme Court.