House panel asks Modi government to cut tribunal litigation

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Economic Times, February 27, 2015

A Parliamentary panel has cited high levels of pendency of cases at leading tribunals to advise the Modi government to ensure fair justice in its day-to-day working so that appeals against their decisions at tribunals are reduced to the minimum.

A Parliamentary panel has cited high levels of pendency of cases at leading tribunals to advise the Narendra Modi government to ensure fair justice in its day-to-day working so that appeals against their decisions at tribunals are reduced to the minimum. The parliamentary panel said that as on 31st December, 2014, there were 1.55 lakh cases pending at the Central Administrative Tribunal, 99,349 at Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, 96,039 at Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal and 44,756 cases at the Railway Claim Tribunal.

“The pendency in those tribunals has defeated the purpose for which those tribunals have been created as parallel to high courts. The authority in decision making of government should endeavour to deliver fair justice in their day to day functioning and decision taking by proper application of rules, regulations, judicial precedents, directions, etc., as a result of which appeals against their decision could be reduced to minimum and cases before Tribunals will substantially go down,” the Parliamentary panel said in a report on Thursday.

The panel expressed concern over the “sad state of affairs” in the tribunals and commissions and said some are dysfunctional due to large scale vacancies. The panel also said it strongly feels that it is “high time” for the government to positively look into these issues. The panel has asked the government impose a court fee for regulating appeals at the Tribunals.

“Appeals before the tribunals involve cost which is borne out of tax payers money. Presently no cost is levied as court fee in the tribunal proportionate to the quantum of relief sought. The government should contemplate to impose fee for regulating appeals as well as generating revenue,” the report says.

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