Jurisdiction of Tribunal

Jurisdiction of Tribunal

It is the name given to the ‘administrative exercise of the judicial functions. It is the term synonymously used with the administrative sections and decision making. It is the name given to various ways of deciding the dispute outside the ordinary courts. It is constitutional, though it is a negation of the principle of separation of powers. It is the participation or the involvement of the executive of the government (administrative authorities) in the judicial functions. Through the instrumentality of the administrative adjudication, administrative agencies can pass the authoritative and appealable decisions. This adjudicatory function is expired in a variety of ways. However, the most popular mode of adjudication is through tribunals.

Generally, a tribunal is any ‘person’ or ‘institution’. Authority to judge, adjudicate and determine claims or disputes whether or not have tribunals n it. Tribunals can be defined as ‘judgement seats’ or ‘court of justice’ or ‘board or committee’ formed to adjudicate on the claim of a particular kind. Tribunal is not originally a part of the constitution but they were introduced by the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976. Administrative tribunals are quasi-judicial authorities that are established under an Act of the Parliament or of State Regulations which is changed with the duty to discharge, adjudicatory functions. So, they are bodies other than courts that perform the adjudicatory functions.

By the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976 a new part XIV (14-A) was included in the constitution and this part is entitled to as ‘Tribunals’ and consists of two articles 323A and 323B. Article 323A empowers for the establishment of the Administrative Tribunal and following the Articles of the Indian Constitution, the Parliament has passed Administrative Tribunal Act, 1985. 

This Act empowers the Central Government to establish one central ‘Administrative Tribunal’ (CAT) and the ‘State Administrative Tribunal’. Article 323B deals with the Tribunals of the other matters. 

Types of the tribunals as per the Administrative Tribunal Act, 1985

Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)

It has the jurisdiction to deal with the service matters about the employees of Central Government, any Union Territory, Local Government or any other Central Government, corporate-owned or controlled by the Central Government. 

State Administrative Tribunals (SAT)

These tribunals can be established by the Central Government and the Parliament. Similarly, we see the State Legislature under Article 323 B for various matters like levy, assessment, collection and enforcement of any tax matters connected with the land reforms covered under Article 31 A.

Joint Administrative Tribunals (JAT)

This can be established on the request of two or more states collectively, which exercise administrative control over two or more states. For Instance, there are various tribunals such as:

Armed Force Tribunal (AFT)

Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)

National Green Tribunal (NGT)

Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT)

Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT)

Water Dispute Tribunal

Characteristics of administrative tribunals

They are of statutory origin and so must be created by a statute or by the Parliament or State Legislation. They are quasi-judicial in nature. This means they have features of a court but not all. The administrative Tribunal is bound to act judicially and follow the principles of Natural Justice. We see various procedural matters, i.e., administrative tribunals have the powers related to the summoning of the witness, administering the oath, to compel production of the documents.

It is not bound to the strict rules of the evidence law and the procedure prescribed by the civil procedure code. They are independent and are not subject to any administrative interference in the discharge of their judicial functions and quasi-judicial functions. The writ of certiorari and prohibition are available against the decisions of the administrative tribunals. It has some toppings of the court and is required to act openly, fairly and impartially. 

Necessity and reasons for the growth of administrative tribunals

The main purpose of the introduction of this Act was:

  • To relieve the congestion in the courts
  • To lower the burden of the courts
  • To provide for speedy disposal of the dispute relating to the service matters
  • To relieve congestion in courts
  • To lower the burden of cases in the courts
  • To provide for speedy disposal of the dispute relating to service mandate


  • Tribunals are less expensive and procedures are not complex and formalistic as in courts.
  • Tribunals are cheaper and are easily accessible to the affected person. For instance, sales tax, tribunals, land appellate tribunals and labour tribunals etc. 
  • Tribunals decide all the questions subjectively on a departmental policy basis. Courts decide objectively.
  • They have experts in their panel who can dispose of the technical problems effectively or they possess technical knowledge in a particular field like labour, revenue, excise, wages etc. 
  • Tribunals Act rapidly with the discretionary powers basing their decisions on the departmental policy and other factors whereas the ordinary courts can follow the procedure and the Evidence Act and hence take much time.

Challenges faced by administrative tribunals

  • The functions of the administrative tribunals are not autonomous per se, as they are dependent on the executive for the aspect of funding and appointment.
  • The administrative tribunals lack the adequate infrastructure to function efficiently.
  • The staff requirements of the tribunals are still unknown.
  • In the Chandra Kumar case, the Supreme Court held that the appeal of the tribunal come under the jurisdiction of the court. This defeats the whole purpose of reducing the burden of the judiciary. 
  • The tribunals are chaired by the retired judges who are appointed by the government. So, due to this reason, the present judge may show favouritism towards certain matters so that they may be appointed as a part of the tribunal during the post-retirement. 



Administrative book by C.K Takwani



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