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Tribunal Reforms Act, 2021

Tribunal Reforms Act, 2021 comprehensive mind map
When
Passed by Parliament in August 2021
Replaced the Tribunals Reforms Ordinance, 2021
Why
Rationalization and streamlining tribunal functions
Shift functions to existing judicial bodies
Reduce the burden on specialized tribunals
What
Abolishment of Certain Tribunals
Film Certification Appellate Tribunal
Airports Appellate Tribunal, etc.
Transfer of Functions
To High Courts and other judicial bodies
Search-cum-Selection Committee
Composition
Chief Justice of India or Supreme Court Judge as Chairperson
Two Central Government-nominated Secretaries
Sitting/Outgoing Tribunal Chairperson or Retired Judge
Secretary of the Union Ministry (non-voting)
Function
Recommend appointments for tribunals
Tenure Provisions
Four-year tenure
Chairperson minimum age 50
Member tenure till 67 years
Chairperson tenure till 70 years
Amendments to Other Acts
Finance Act, 2017
Consumer Protection Act, 2019
Where
Across India
Who
Indian Parliament
Various Judicial and Quasi-judicial Bodies
How
Legislative Process
Introduction and Passing in Parliament
Pros
Reduces excessive tribunalization
Restores jurisdiction to actual courts
Increases accessibility to justice
Addresses non-functionality of some tribunals
Cons
Hasty passage without adequate discussion
Re-enactment of provisions previously struck down
Violates principle of separation of powers
Shifting of domain-specific cases to general courts
Increase in burden on High Courts
Expertise in tribunals overstated
Lost opportunity for meaningful reform
Way Forward
Implementing true reforms
Expanding district judiciary and High Courts
Establishing autonomous appointment mechanisms
Supervising tribunals by High Courts
Considering an All India Tribunal Service

Summary: The Tribunal Reforms Act, 2021, represents an attempt to streamline the tribunal system in India by abolishing certain tribunals and transferring their functions to existing judicial bodies. While it aims to reduce the burden on specialized tribunals and increase accessibility to justice, the Act has faced criticism for its hasty passage, potential violation of the principle of separation of powers, and for reintroducing provisions previously struck down by the Supreme Court. The way forward includes implementing true reforms, expanding the judiciary, and establishing autonomous mechanisms for appointments and oversight.

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