This chapter examines the constitutional status of tribunals in India and how the law and policy on tribunals have evolved since 1950. It presents a brief historical background on the evolution of tribunals in India, starting from the origin of tribunals and debates among law reform bodies from 1950 to 1975 to the Swaran Singh Committee report recommending the creation of tribunals to combat delays in the Indian legal system. It then reviews constitutional litigation over tribunals during the period 1985–2014, focusing on the Sampath Kumar and other cases after it, along with the National Company Law Tribunals. It also considers the debate over the ‘tribunalisation’ of the Indian legal system and the constitutional arguments that have been raised to challenge the validity of particular tribunals. Finally, it looks at recent criticism of the growth of tribunals by practicing lawyers and argues that calls for their abolition are impractical.
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