More than 3.5 lakh cases are pending jointly with five top central tribunals in the country. Among them, 91 thousand cases are pending in the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal. The Law Commission has said in its report “Assessment of Statutory Framework of Tribunals in India” submitted to the Law Ministry on Friday that the rate of settlement of cases by the tribunals is remarkable (94 per cent) compared to the cases filed, but still pending case is too much.
The figures available officially about the functioning of the tribunals do not present their satisfactory picture. According to the report, 44,333 cases were pending in the Central Administrative Tribunal till July 2017. Similarly, till September 30, 2016, there were 45,604 pending cases in the Railway Claims Tribunal.
There were 78,118 cases pending in the debt collection tribunal till July 3, 2016, while till the end of 2016, 90,592 cases were pending in the service tax tribunal. At the same time, by the end of 2016, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal had the highest number of 91,538 cases pending.
It is known that tribunals are administrative bodies, which have been constituted for semi judicial functions. An administrative tribunal is neither a court nor a executive body. It holds the place between the court and the administrative institution.
In its report, the Law Commission has suggested to reduce the burden of increasing lawsuits on the Supreme Court, that the decisions passed by various tribunals should not be challenged directly in the country’s highest court. Rather these decisions should be challenged before a High Court Bench.