Reasons for growth of administrative adjudication: Difference between Courts and Tribunals, Administrative adjudication and Tribunals5 min read

By- Melissa Joseph

Reasons for growth of administrative adjudication

Administrative Adjudication is the result of an intensive form of government and considerable socialization of law. The traditional judicial system has a highly individualistic and ritualistic approach. Hence, it cannot give the people the quantity and quality of justice a welfare state requires.

Administrative adjudication is essentially determining questions of a judicial or quasi-judicial nature by an administrative department or agency. It helps in protecting the rights of citizens at the cost of the state authority. In a way, it also suits modern industrialized and urbanized society.

Some of the reasons contributing to the growth of Administrative Adjudication are as follows:

  • Administrative authorities help in taking various precautionary and deterrent measures. Generally, the disputing parties approach the courts of law for redressal. The same is not the case with Administrative authorities as the preventive actions are taken beforehand which then prove to be more effective and useful than what happens in regular courts, that is,  punishing the perpetrator after he commits a breach of law.
  • The judicial system of India is considered inadequate in determining and settling disputes as it is slow, incompetent, costly, complicated and formal. The Indian courts are burdened with many cases and it becomes impossible to expect speedy determination of important matters. Therefore, the development of administrative adjudication helps in reducing the load.
  • A good number of situations require quick and firm actions else health and safety of the people may remain in jeopardy. For instance, ensuring safety standards in coal mines, barring illegal transactions in foreign exchange, and unfair business practices require prompt action. If such cases are dealt within the ordinary courts of law, it would cause tremendous loss to the state exchequer and undermine na­tional prestige. However, the administrative courts presided over by the experts would secure prompt and fair action. Therefore all the above reasons help in the growth of Administrative Adjudication.

Difference between courts and tribunals

Courts are the judicial body that is arranged in the hierarchical order and integrated. It is set up by the government to adjudicate disputes between the opposite parties through a formal legal process. It aims at giving justice in civil, criminal and administrative matters, as per the rule of law. In short, a court is a government institution where the determination on legal matters is taken by the judge or panel of judges or magistrate.

Tribunal is a quasi-judicial institution that is set up to deal with problems such as resolving administrative or tax-related disputes. It is a body of members who are elected to settle the controversies arising under certain special matters. Under Article 323 B, the Parliament and the state legislatures are authorised to provide for the establishment of tribunals for the adjudication of disputes relating to matters like Taxation, Industrial and labour, Land reforms, Elections to Parliament and state legislatures,

Rent and tenancy rights, etc.

The following are the differences between courts and tribunals:

  • A court of law is a part of the traditional judicial system in which judicial powers are derived from the state whereas a tribunal is an agency created by the statute and invested with judicial power.
  • The court’s decision is known as judgement, decree, conviction or acquittal whereas the decision given by the tribunals on a particular matter is known as the award.
  • Courts have judicial power to try all suits of civil nature unless the cognizance is expressly or impliedly barred whereas tribunals have the power to try cases of special matter which are conferred on them by statutes.
  • The presiding officer of the court of law is trained in law however, members of Tribunal may not be trained as well as in law. They may be an expert in the field of Administrative matters.
  • A court has to remain impartial in dispute as it acts as an arbitrator between the defendant and prosecutor whereas the tribunal can be a party to the dispute to be decided by it.

Administrative adjudication and tribunals

Administrative Adjudication

Administrative Adjudication is the result of an intensive form of government and considerable socialization of law. The traditional judicial system has a highly individualistic and ritualistic approach. Hence, it cannot give the people the quantity and quality of justice a welfare state requires.  In India, administrative adjudication evolved after independence as several welfare laws were promulgated which vested the power of deciding various issues in the administration’s hands. The modern Indian Republic was born a Welfare State and therefore an immense burden lay on the government to provide a host of welfare services to the people. 

Tribunals

Tribunal is a quasi-judicial institution that deals with problems such as resolving administrative or tax-related disputes. It is a body of members who are elected to settle the controversies arising under certain special matters.

In India, the growth of these administrative tribunals has been quite haphazard. They have come into existence as or when required. Though their number has been multiplying by leaps and bounds, they have never been organized into a coherent system.  Over 3.000 such courts exist in India. Few examples include Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Railway Rates Tribunal, Labour Courts, Industries Tribunals Wage Boards, Compensation Tribunal, Election Tribunals, Central Administrative Tribunal, Rent Tribunals are some of the examples of such Tribunals.

Administrative tribunals were established with an amendment to Articles 323A and 3238 of the Indian Constitution. These were constituted to deal with service matters of the civil servants. The tribunals are established to avoid regular court approach by civil servants. Reasons for growth of Administrative Adjudication.

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