Updated: Mar 8
With the inception of the Union Budget, 2021, sundry measures are being taken to meet the goal of “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance” which was proposed by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to ensure speedy justice by reforming the functioning of the tribunals. To further this agenda, on February 13, 2021, the finance minister introduced 'The Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation And Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021' in the Lok Sabha along with Anurag Singh Thakur, Minister of State Finance and Corporate Affairs.
The enactment of this Bill would lead to abolishing certain tribunals and authorities along with the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB). The Draft Bill does not come as a surprise as the Controller General of India had approved a petition to expunge the IPAB in August 2020.
The statement of objects and reason of the bill states that “with a view to streamline tribunals, the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2021 is proposed.....analysis of data of the last three years has shown that tribunals in several sectors have not necessarily led to faster justice delivery and they are also at a considerable expense to the exchequer. The Hon'ble Supreme Court has discouraged the practice of tribunalisation of justice and the filing of appeals directly from tribunals to the Supreme Court in many of its judgements”. Thus, justifying its claim to improve the justice system. It was claimed that these tribunals only add to the delay in disposal of cases and that they suffer from a shortage of supporting staff. Therefore, the most efficient way to curb the issue would be to abolish these tribunals.
The aforementioned bill proposes to transfer the powers of the IPAB with respect to copyright cases to the Commercial Courts and Patent, Trademarks, GI and Plant Varieties related cases to the High Courts.
Bill no. 19 of 2021