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Abstract

There is nothing in this world that didn’t happen for a reason, even our own existence in this society. They say life is all about finding a reason but we believe once you find the reason your life starts truly.  Traditionally we tend to have one goal of becoming successful but certainly, there is much to do even after you achieve the desired success. As success is not just putting yourself in a position that you dream for years to be in but inspiring others and assisting them in achieving theirs.

The author strongly believes that professionals should go beyond their traditional areas by expanding themselves to serve and not settle for less. The article provides you with such goldmines of opportunities in the litigation field where in addition to advocates, non-advocate professionals such as the Chartered Accountants, Company Secretary, Cost Accountants also can have their fair share.

Explore the Golden Opportunities of Practicing before a Tribunal

Introduction

With the development in the quasi-judicial system, they have established certain forums/platforms in the shape of the tribunal, certain other adjudicating authorities that now permit such non-advocates professionals to represent their clients just like advocates do.

Certain qualities such as excellence in regulatory procedure place them in an advantageous position to perform such work because matters before regulatory authorities and  Tribunals are very technical in nature.

There are certain skills where non-law background professionals have to adopt which certainly put them in the excellent tribunal practitioner category

  • Learn how to prepare advisory opinions on the matters for clients so that they do not fall into unexpected regulatory mishaps
  • Learn how to review and draft contracts so that your advice is actually factored into big-ticket  transactions and deals (which are highly subject to scrutiny) (refer to the contract drafting diploma course to identify how to get started)
  • Learn how to draft legal arguments, responses and legal drafts if your client receives is a show-cause notice or an adverse order.
  • Argue before authorities at various regulatory forums

Practising before the tribunal is truly an exercise of the mind

Law is a constantly evolving field that was restricted to only Lawyers 50 years ago. However, the same is now open to many professionals particularly Chartered Accountants, Cost Accountants, and Company Secretaries, as certain tribunals permit their legal representation on behalf of the aggrieved person.

Further, it is very practical and logical it is thus essential for practitioners to understand the basic principles of logic that can be attained through understanding the “why” in-laws. The tribunal in the modern system reinvented with the need of reducing the judicial pendency and adding a technical specialization in the process of adjudication of dispute pertaining to a specific matter.

Each professional be mindful of certain etiquettes that are to be observed:

  1. Duty towards tribunal by acting with dignity and self-respect and maintaining respectful attitude
  2. Duty towards client
  • Not withdrawing from the engagement without sufficient cause and arbitraily
  • Placing the interest of the client as a priority
  • and not conduct or do any act that will certainly jeopardize his client interest
  • Keeping them in the loop
  • responsibly serving necessary documents
  • an active role in convincing the presiding members of facts and claim completely
  • protecting client’s confidentiality
  • conducting a proper study of law and provide expert advice
  • follow the procedural rules, maintain discipline, and adhere to the law, ethics, etc.
  • approach appropriate method that will help in deciding their client matter on merits
 

Tribunal system in India

The tribunals in India are an institution having judicial and quasi judicial duties established for the purpose of adjudicating a specific matter. Constituted with an object of providing faster adjudication comparing to traditional courts and having expertise in certain matters, the Tribunal forms a crucial part of judicial mechanism of the country.

In the next 20 years the tribunal system of the country will mark its first century with the first ever tribunal – the Income-Tax Appellate Tribunal set up in 25.01.1941. Since then Tribunals have grown both in number and authority.

Their powers, functions, practice, and procedure have become a subject in itself for both applicants/appellants, respondents, and interested learners. Apart from Tribunals, there may be bodies performing quasi-judicial functions which have been created and are administered by the Central Government and they may be falling in categories of Commissions, Boards or other Authorities. These Tribunals, Commissions, Boards, Authorities provide independent adjudication of disputes and function through prescribed practice and procedure which may vary as per the nature of the function they perform.

Although the Income Tax-Appellate Tribunal was established even prior to independence, the tribunal was not officially part of the constitution until addition through the 42nd amendment in 1976.

The Constitution (Forty-Second Amendment) Act, 1976 effective from 03.01.1977 added Part XIV A consisting of two articles particularly Article 323A and 323B. Where the former provision empowered Parliament to constitute administrative Tribunals (both at central and state level) for adjudication of matters related to recruitment and conditions of service of public servants and latter specified certain subjects (such as taxation and land reforms) for which Parliament or state legislatures may constitute tribunals by enacting a law.

The dual objective of establishment of the tribunal

  1. To resolve the dispute in a more efficient manner than the courts
  2. Having a mechanism that is well equipped and that attains/possess a degree of expertise in a particular field/domain which a court certainly do not

The First-ever modern-day tribunal was established in the form of the General Commissioners of Income Tax under the Income Tax Act 1799. The act had made an appeal provision u/s 64. Likewise, the First International tribunal was established by the League of Nations that founded on 10th January 1920. The league led to the establishment of the Administrative Tribunal of the League of Nations on 26th September 1927. However, when the league dissolve on 20th April 1946 the tribunal went under the Internal Labour Organization (1919). It was later renamed as The International Labour Organization Administrative Tribunal” which has jurisdiction over Labour-related matters/disputes of 57 international organizations including WHO, WTO, WIPO, FAO, etc.

Few tribunals working at the international level

  • The International Labour Organization Administrative Tribunal https://www.ilo.org/tribunal/lang--en/index.htm
  • Having jurisdiction over the complaints from serving and former officials of the International Labour Office; Labour-related decisions of 57 international organisations
  • The United Nations Administrative Tribunal https://untreaty.un.org/unat/main_page.htm
  • Decides applications alleging non-observance of contracts of employment of staff members of the Secretariat of the UN
  • The United Nations Disputes Tribunal https://www.un.org/en/internaljustice/undt/
  • Entertains and decides an Application by a staff member for violation of their rights

PRESENT TRIBUNALS WORKING IN INDIA

It should be noted that the tribunal is administered by their respective parent ministries that are responsible for their day-to-day functioning.

Statistics of previous tribunals

  • About 197 tribunals and agencies were set up by the State and Central Governments.
  • 95 tribunals under 88 central legislations, of which 78 have been set up by the Central Government and 17 by State Governments.
  • Between 1996 and July 2013, at least 690 Bills, including Constitutional Amendments and Appropriation bills, have been passed by Parliament, and 18 new tribunals have been set up by the central govt.

Below is the list of tribunals presently functioning in India:

 

List of tribunals as per central laws

Sr. no.

Name of the statute

Name of the tribunal

Parent ministry

1

The Companies Act 2013

  1. The National Company Law Tribunal
  2. The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal

Ministry of corporate affairs

2

The Competition Act, 2002

3

The Insolvency And Bankruptcy Code, 2016

4

The Income Tax Act 1961

The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal

Ministry of Law and Justice

5

The Customs Act, 1962

The Customs Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal

Ministry of Finance

6

The Administrative Tribunal Act 1985

The Central Administrative Tribunal

Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances, and Pensions

7

The Consumer Protection Act 2019

  1. The District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission
  2. The State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission
  3. The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission
  4. Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution
 

8

The Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act 1956

The Securities Appellate Tribunal

Ministry of Finance

9

The Depositories Act 1996

10

The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 2013

11

The Insurance Act 1938

12

The Recovery of Debts and Bankruptcy Act, 1993

  1. The Debt Recovery Tribunal
  2. The Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal

Ministry of Finance

13

The Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interests Act, 2002

14

The Railways Act, 1989

The Railway Claims Tribunal

Ministry of Railways

15

The Industrial Disputes Act 1947

The Central Government Industrial Tribunals cum Labour Courts

Ministry of Labour and Employment

16

The Employees' Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952

17

The Conservation of Foreign Exchange And Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974

The Appellate Tribunal for Forfeited Property

Ministry of Finance

18

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985

19

The Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002

20

The Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988

21

The Information Technology Act, 2000

The Telecom Dispute Settlement & Appellate Tribunal

Ministry of Communication

22

The Indian Telegraph Act 1885

23

The Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017

The Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal

Ministry of Finance

24

The Electricity Act 2003

The Appellate Tribunal For Electricity

Ministry of Power

25

The Petroleum Act, 1934

26

The Army Act, 1950

The Armed Forces Tribunal

Ministry of Defence

27

The Navy Act, 1957 

28

The Air Force Act, 1950

29

The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986

The National Green Tribunal

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

30

The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981

31

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974

32

The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980

33

The Biological Diversity Act, 2002

34

The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991

35

The Inter-State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act, 1956

The inter-state water disputes tribunal

Ministry of Jal Shakti, department of  Water Resources

36

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016

State real estate regulatory authorities and appellate tribunal established

Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs

37

The Foreigners Tribunal Act, 1941

The Foreigners Tribunal for State of Assam

Ministry of Home Affairs

38

The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006

The Food Safety Appellate Tribunal (of respective states)

Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution

39

The Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996

Arbitration Tribunal

 

40

The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (of respective states)

 

List of some state tribunals

Sr.no.

State legislation

Tribunal

1

State cooperative acts:

The Karnataka Co-operative Societies Act, 1959

The Karnataka Appellate Tribunal

2

Land revenue legislation:

The West Bengal Land Reforms Act , 1956.

The WEST BENGAL LAND REFORMS AND TENANCY TRIBUNAL 

3

The Bihar Land Reforms Act, 1950

The Bihar Land Tribunal

4

The Maharashtra Land Revenue Code

The Maharashtra Revenue Tribunal

5

Local self government legislation:

The Kerala Panchayat Raj Act 1994

The Tribunal for Local Self Government Institution of Kerala

6

The Uttar Pradesh Public Services (Tribunal) Act, 1976

The Uttarakhand Public Services Tribunal

7

Private school legislation:

The Maharashtra Employees of Private Schools (Conditions of Service) Regulation Act, 1977

The School Tribunals

8

State administrative tribunal

For instance

The Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal

Total 9 State administrative tribunal are there

Nine states of Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Kerala.

However, the Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh Tribunals have been abolished

List of tribunals where professional other than Advocates such as CA, CS, CMA are allowed to appear/represent their client/practice

  1. The Appellate Tribunal Forfeited Property for Chartered Accountant and Cost Management Accountant
  2. The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity
  3. The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal for Chartered Accountant
  4. The Securities Appellate Tribunal
  5. The Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal
  6. The National Company Law Tribunal / National Company Law Appellate Tribunal
  7. The Customs Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal  
  8. The Real Estate Regulatory Authority/ Real Estate Appellate Tribunal
  9. The Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal
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Category Career, Other Articles by - CA. (Dr.) Rajkumar Adukia 



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