Tribunals Reforms Ordinance, 2021

  • The Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021
  • Recently, the President promulgated Tribunal Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance 2021 through which the Appellate authorities under nine laws have been replaced with High Courts.
  • The Ordinance has amended the Finance Act 2017 to include provisions related to the composition of search-cum-selection committees, and term of office of members in the Act itself.
  • The Government of India by an ordinance abolished the Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), which heard appeals by filmmakers seeking certification for their films.



Important points:

  • The Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021, which came into effect on April 4, amends the Cinematograph Act, 1952 by omitting some sections and replacing the word “Tribunal” with “High Court” in other sections.
  • The abolition of FCAT means filmmakers will now have to approach the High Court whenever they want to challenge a CBFC certification, or lack of it. The sudden move has upset many filmmakers.

Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal (FCAT)

  • FCAT was a statutory body constituted set up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in 1983, under Section 5D of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.
  • Its main job was to hear appeals filed under Section 5C of the Cinematograph Act, by applicants for certification aggrieved by the decision of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
  • The tribunal was headed by a chairperson and had four other members, including a Secretary appointed by the Government of India to handle.
  • The Tribunal was headquartered in New Delhi.

The Finance Act 2017

It empowered the central government to notify rules on qualifications of members, terms and conditions of their service, and composition of search-cum-selection committees for 19 tribunals (such as Customs, Excise, and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal).



Important  Points:

  • The Chairperson and Members of the Tribunals will be appointed by the central government on the recommendation of a Search-cum-Selection Committee.
  • Chief Justice of India, or a Supreme Court Judge nominated by him, as the Chairperson (with casting vote),
  • Secretaries nominated by the central government,
  • The sitting or outgoing Chairperson, or a retired Supreme Court Judge, or a retired Chief Justice of a High Court.
  • The Secretary of the Ministry under which the Tribunal is constituted (with no voting right).
  • The term of office for the Chairperson of the tribunals will be of four years or till the attainment of the age of seventy years, whichever is earlier.
  • For other members of the tribunals, the term will be of four years or till the age of sixty-seven years, whichever is earlier.

The Nine Laws (Replacement of Appellate Authorities/Tribunals):

  1. The Cinematograph Act, 1952.
  2. The Trade Marks Act, 1999.
  3. The Copyright Act, 1957.
  4. The Customs Act, 1962.
  5. The Patents Act, 1970.
  6. The Airports Authority of India Act, 1994.
  7. The Control of National Highways (Land and Traffic) Act, 2002.
  8. The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.

The quality of adjudication has been underwhelming in most cases, the delays have been substantial because the government has struggled to find competent persons willing to accept positions on these tribunals, and litigation has actually become more expensive, as these tribunals added another layer to it.


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