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Special Courts and Tribunals


 Special Courts and Tribunals

India has several specialised Courts and Tribunals to reduce the burden of pending cases. These special Courts and Tribunals specialise in certain area/laws and ensure that the citizens are not overly inconvenienced in the resolution of minor disputes. In this article, we look at some of the Special Courts and Tribunals in India.

Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT)

In order to reduce the Non-Performing Assets of the Banks and Financial Institutions in the public and private sector, the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) was established for expeditious adjudication and recovery of debts due to banks and financial institutions. Prior to the introduction of Debt Recovery Tribunal, petitions had to be filed separately for adjudication of cases and execution proceedings in different courts depending upon their jurisdiction. With the introduction of DRT, DRT acts as a single judicial forum for adjudication of cases as well as execution of the decrees passed for recovery of debts due to banks and financial institutions under RDDBFI Act and SARFAESI Act. Currently, 33 DRTs and 5 DRATs have been set up in India.

Consumer Court

To protect the rights of the consumers in India and establish a mechanism for settlement of consumer disputes, a three-tier redressal forum containing District, State and National level consumer forums has been set up. The District Consumer Forum deals with consumer disputes involving a value of up to Rupees twenty lakh.  State Commission has jurisdiction in consumer disputes having a value of up to Rs.1 crore.  The National Commission deals in consumer disputes above Rs.1 crores, in respect of defects in goods and or deficiency in service.  It is important to note that consumer courts do not entertain complaints about alleged deficiency in any service that is rendered free of charge or under a contract of personal service.

Family Court

Family Courts have jurisdiction over cases under the Hindu Marriage Act relating to Divorce, Restitution of Conjugal Rights and Permanent Alimony etc. These Courts were introduced through The Family Courts Act, 1984 to promote conciliation in and secure speedy settlement of disputes relating to marriage and family affairs. The courts are presided by Judicial Officers of the cadre of District Judges. Some of the main functions of a family court are:

  • Granting Divorce as per law.
  • Ordering Interim maintenance.
  • Requiring litigation expenses.
  • Ordering Custody of children.
  • Visiting rights.

Labour Court

Labour Courts deal with all types of disputes between employers and employees under Labour laws in India. The courts have presided judicial officers of the cadre of District Judges. Cases handled in a labour court pertain to the following Labour Laws in India.

  • Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
  • Cases under workmen compensation.
  • Employees State Insurance Act.
  • Factories Act.

Motor Accident Claims Tribunal

The Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal deals with matters related to compensation of motor accidents victims or they are next of kin. Victims of a motor accident or legal heirs of motor accident victims or a representing Advocate can file claims relating to the loss of life/property and injury cases resulting from Motor Accidents. The Judicial Officers from the State Higher Judicial Service and the direct supervision of the Hon’ble High Court of the respective state manage the Motor Accident Claims.