Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021 came into force
The Central Government promulgated the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021 after The Tribunal Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021 could not be taken up in the Lok Sabha. Satisfied by the circumstances, President promulgates the Ordinance.
One major change that the Ordinance bought is the transfer of the power of various Appellate Boards to the High Court. This Ordinance also brings some of the changes in the Finance Act 2017. Providing substantial changes to section 184 which gives the power to the Central Government to make rules to provide for the qualifications, appointment, salaries and allowances, resignation, removal, and the other conditions of service of the Chairperson and Members of the Tribunal as specified in the Eighth Schedule.
It added that an appointment will be made on the recommendation of Search-cum-Selection Committee which will consist of the Chief Justice of India or a Judge appointed by CJI, along with two secretaries appointed by the Government and one secretary of that department under which the Tribunal is set up. The Committee will also have one member who will be a retired Judge of the Supreme Court or the Chief Justice of the High Court, in case the Tribunal is Industrial Tribunal under Industrial Dispute Act 1947, Tribunals and Appellate Tribunals constituted under the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993. The Chairperson of the Tribunal shall hold the office for 4 years or till he attains 70 years of age and other members will hold for 4 years or till he attains 67 years of age. Those Tribunals whose power has been transferred were omitted from the purview of the Finance Act 2017.
Changing the structure of the Appellate Boards, the Ordinance transfers the Appellate function of the Tribunals and Boards. In the Cinematographic Act 1952, the ordinance transfers the appellate function of the Tribunals to the High Court. Abolishing the IPAB, the Ordinance transfers the power of the IPAB to the other judicial authorities. In the Copyright Act 1957, this Ordinance transfers the power of the Appellate Board to that of Commercial Court or the Commercial Division of the High Court. In the Patent Act 1970, wherever the words "Appellate Board" or "Board" are appearing, it is either omitted or is substituted by the "High Court". Similarly, in the Trademark Act, 1999 and the Geographical Indication Act, 1999, the appellate function is transferred to the High Court.
The ordinance also brings changes to the Control of National Highways (Land and Traffic) Act, 2002, The Customs Act, 1962, and the Airport Authority of India Act, 1994. In all these acts the Ordinance has transferred the power of the Appellate Board to various Judicial Bodies. For the National Highways (Land and Traffic) Act, 2002, the Ordinance transfers the power to the Civil Court. In the Customs Act 1962, the Appellate Authority has been replaced with the "High Court". For the Airport Authority of India Act, 1994, the "Tribunal" is replaced with "Central Government"