New Delhi: Several tribunals are set to close down if a key Bill, seeking to shift their work to high courts for streamlining the justice delivery system, is passed by the monsoon session of Parliament, beginning 19 July.
The Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021, tabled in the budget session by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, seeks to abolish tribunals or authorities under various laws by amending various statutes. These include Cinematograph Act, the Copyrights Act, the Customs Act, the Patents Act, the Airport Authority of India Act, the Trade Marks Act and the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act.
The government is expected to transfer all cases pending before such tribunals or authorities to commercial courts or high courts. The chairman and members of these tribunals would be entitled to three months’ compensation for the premature termination of the term of their office.
The Bill is a priority for the government as streamlining of tribunals is expected to save considerable expense to the exchequer while leading to speedy delivery of justice. One key worry for the government is that tribunals have not necessarily led to faster justice delivery in the last three years, as per an analysis of the government. The government believes many tribunals only add to another additional layer of litigation. In 2017, seven tribunals were abolished or merged based on functional similarity.
Two other bills–Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill and the International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill—are also likely to be part of the legislative agenda of the monsoon session, according to a person privy to the development. The monsoon session is expected to continue till middle of August.
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