IMG meet today on bringing all tribunals under law min

The government is working on bringing all Central tribunals including the Intellectual Property Appellate Board and the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal under the law ministry.

An inter-ministerial group (IMG) is meeting on Friday on the issue to discuss the modalities of the framework. The move comes after the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre, based on a PIL filed by the Madras Bar Association, asking it to bring all tribunals under the law ministry.

"All the departments which have tribunals will put forward their view point on how to bring all tribunals under one umbrella. There are around 20 tribunals and they need to be brought under one ministry as per the apex court's direction," an official told said.

The idea of bringing all tribunals is essentially to better regulate the "appointment, removal or administration of these bodies. Also, funding of such bodies will also be looked after by the law ministry".

The PIL had argued that tribunals functioning under different ministries had affected their functioning and in some cases had also resulted in appointment of members not qualified to practice.

The IMG, comprising ministries of telecom, environment and commerce and industry among others, was formed to thrash out the issues involved in bringing all such bodies under one ministry.

Currently, the Competition Commission of India, Competition Appellate Tribunal and the Company Law Board fall under the ministry of corporate affairs. The Intellectual Property Appellate Board is under the ministry of commerce. The Copyright Board functions under the ministry of human resource development while Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal falls under the finance ministry. Only the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal falls directly under the law ministry.

"This makes the appointment of members and chairpersons arbitrary and in many cases, given the lack of uniformity, people apply for all the tribunals even when they are not qualified. In many cases, one does not even require a law degree for administrative or technical members," the official said.

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