The top five central tribunals in the country have a combined backlog of over 3.50 lakh cases with the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal alone having over 91,000 pending matters, says a latest law commission report. In its report ‘Assessment of Statutory Frameworks of Tribunals in India’ submitted to the law ministry on Friday, the panel said “though the disposal rate of the tribunals in comparison to the filing of cases per year had been remarkable — 94 per cent — the pendency remains high.”
It pointed out that the concept of tribunals was developed to overcome the crisis of delay and backlogs in the administration of justice in regular courts.
“However, the data officially available, in respect of working of some of the tribunals do not depict a satisfactory picture,” the report said.
As in July 2017, the Central Administrative Tribunal had 44,333 pending cases. Similarly, the Railway Claims Tribunal had 45,604 pending cases as on 30 September, 2016.
The Debt Recovery Tribunal had a backlog of 78,118 cases as on July 3, 2016. At the end of 2016, the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appeal Tribunal reported 90,592 pending cases.
The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal had 91,538 pending cases at the end of 2016 — the highest among the five tribunals referred by the report.
The total backlog of the five tribunals comes to 3,50,185.
Tribunal is an administrative body established for the purpose of discharging quasi-judicial duties. An administrative tribunal is neither a court nor an executive body. It stands somewhere midway between a court and an administrative body.
Seeking to reduce the burden of mounting cases on the apex court, the commission has also recommended that orders of various central tribunals should not be challenged in the Supreme Court directly.
The law panel said that orders of central tribunals should be challenged before the division bench of a high court.