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Mains Answer Writing

29-February-2024

Q1) The transfer of judicial powers to quasi-judicial bodies has raised concerns regarding the creation of a parallel justice delivery system through tribunalization of justice. In this perspective, examine the benefits and drawbacks of empowering quasi-judicial bodies with judicial powers.

(150 Words/10 Marks)

ANSWER

Quasi-judicial bodies are administrative or regulatory agencies that possess powers and functions typically associated with a court of law. They adjudicate disputes, conduct hearings, gather evidence, and issue rulings that are legally binding.

 The benefits of empowering quasi-judicial bodies are as follows:

  1. Access to justice: Quasi-judicial bodies provide an alternative forum for dispute resolution through conciliation, mediation, and arbitration services They enhance access to justice in cost effective manner. It is useful for poor as well as businesses that may find traditional courts too intimidating.
  2. Reducing judicial pendency: With over 4.7 billion cases pending in courts as of May 2022, quasi-judicial bodies reduce the backlog in traditional courts.

E.g., National Green Tribunal takes up cases involving pollution and the environment.

  1. Specialization: Quasi-judicial bodies can develop deep knowledge and expertise in specific areas of law, such as environmental regulations, intellectual property, or labor disputes. This enables them to address complex legal issues more effectively.
  2. Flexible Approach: While the judiciary frequently refers to previous decisions, quasi-bodies have more freedom to act. They follow the principle of natural justice and have an adaptable approach to handling issues.

E.g., tribunals are not bound by the Evidence Act.

  1. Efficiency: Quasi-judicial bodies do not have complicated or lengthy submission processes for petitions. They work under professional guidance with streamlined procedures. This leads to faster resolution of cases.

 The drawbacks of empowering quasi-judicial bodies with judicial powers are as follows:

  1. Independence and impartiality: Quasi-judicial bodies may be subject to political or executive influence, potentially undermining the principles of separation of powers and judicial independence.

E.g., post-retirement benefits.

  1. Parallel justice system: The rulings are frequently contested in court. It makes them an additional layer in the legal system, defeating their purpose of speeding up justice and conciliation.
  2. Capacity: These bodies are mostly understaffed, rendering the purpose of speedy justice ineffective as the backlog of cases is like the traditional courts.
  3. Arbitrariness: Quasi-judicial bodies are allowed to make their own procedures, which may lead to arbitrariness. They do not have the same level of procedural safeguards as traditional courts. This could affect the fairness of proceedings and the protection of individual rights.
  4. They attract many bogus claims as the cost is generally low. The role of quasi-judicial bodies in improving the judicial system is marred with challenges of tribunalization of justice.

The issues in functioning of quasi-judicial bodies underline the need for robust accountability mechanisms to ensure transparency in their functioning and adherence to due process and legal standards.

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