Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Services) Ordinance, 2021 Passed- HC made Appellate Body under 7 Acts

On April 4, the Ministry of Law and Justice brought in an ordinance to dissolve some existing appellate bodies known as ‘The Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Services) Ordinance, 2021’.

Certain existing appellate bodies will be dissolved through the ordinance, and their functions will be transferred to other judicial bodies.

The Finance Act of 2017 has empowered the central government to notify the rules on members’ qualifications, terms and conditions, and the composition of selection cum search committees for nineteen tribunals. The new Bill will amend the 2017 Act to include provisions related to the office of members and the Act itself.

The Bill will transfer the function of the following appellate bodies:-

  • The appellate body for cases under Cinematograph Act will be the High Court.
  • The appellate body for cases under Trade Marks Act will be the High Court.
  • The appellate body for cases under the Copyright Act would be the Commercial Court or the Commercial Division of the High Court.
  • The appellate body for cases under the Customs Act will be the High Court.
  • The appellate body for cases under the Patents High Court will be the High Court.
  • The appellate body for cases under the Airport Authority of India Act will be the Central government for disputes arising from the disposal of properties left at the Airport. The High Court can be approached for appeals against the order of the eviction officer.
  • The appellate body for cases under the Control of National Highways will be the Civil Court.
  • The appellate body for cases under the Geographical Indications of Goods Act will be the High Court.

Proposal regarding the Search and Selection Committee

The Centre will appoint members and chairpersons of the Tribunals on the Search and Selection Committee’s recommendation. The Committee will consist of CJI or a Supreme Court of Judge. The Centre will nominate two secretaries. A sitting or outgoing judge will also be a Member of the Committee.

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Proposal regarding the term of office:-

As per the Bill, the term of office for the Chairperson will be four years or until they attain the age of 70 years for other members, the term will be four years or till they attain sixty-seven years.

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