Quasi-judicial bodies are entities such as an arbitrator or a tribunal, usually of a Public Administrative Agency, that have powers and procedures similar to those of a Court of Law or Judge and are required to objectively determine facts and draw conclusions from them in order to provide the basis for an official action. Such actions have the potential to correct a situation or impose legal penalties, and they may have an impact on the legal rights, duties, or privileges of specific parties.
Quasi-judicial bodies in India
- The Election Commission of India.
- The National Green Tribunal.
- The Central Information Commission (CIC).
- Lok Adalat.
- National Human Rights Commission
- National Commission for Women
- National Green Tribunal
Advantages and disadvantages of quasi-judicial bodies
- Unconstrained by strict procedures: They bring flexibility and adaptability because they are not bound by rigid procedures. g., Simplified procedure for submitting an RTI application to the Central Information Commission. Natural justice was implemented in the NCLT and Lok Adalats.
- Less expensive: They are designed to be less formal, less expensive, and faster than the traditional court system for resolving disputes.
- Lighten the load: The system also provides much-needed relief to ordinary courts of law, which are already swamped with numerous lawsuits. For example, the NCLT relieves the judiciary of the burden of financial cases. Lok Adalat resolves minor issues that would otherwise be drawn out in the courts.
- Technical expertise: They play an important role and part in dispute resolution, particularly when the subject requires technical expertise. For example, the National Green Tribunal provides expertise to deal with environmental issues.
- Public awareness and suo moto powers: They have some of the same powers as a civil court, such as issuing summons and allowing witnesses to testify. Its decisions are legally binding on the parties and are appealable. For example, the National Human Rights Commission can take suo moto action against human rights violations. It also ran an awareness campaign to raise awareness about the LGBTQ community and HIV infected people.
Problems with their operation
- An unjust imbalance exists between represented and unrepresented parties. It is unjust to pit poor people against wealthy corporations who are not represented and cannot afford legal counsel. Richer parties are more likely to win because they are allowed to hire skilled representation.
- The no-fee rule and lack of legal aid penalise poor litigants while keeping costs low.
- The lack of fees encourages poor applicants, but it may also lead to bogus claims.
- Tribunals, like courts, can become complex over time as rules of procedure evolve as a result of the use of representatives, making representation desirable in the future.
- They may lack some of the judiciary’s perceived independence.
- Because of the inherent difficulty in presenting a case in any environment, it can still be difficult for people who go to tribunals to represent themselves.
- It undermines the celebrated principle of separation of powers.
The government must address this issue by allowing for an adequate number of appointments to various quasi-judicial bodies. However, because a foolproof appointment mechanism is critical to ensuring quality, the government is obligated to provide for it. Only then will India’s quasi-judicial bodies be able to speed up not only the resolution of disputes but also the administration of justice.