|Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 |
Chapter X Adjudication and Food Safety Appellate Tribunal 68. Adjudication. – 1. For the purposes of adjudication under this Chapter, an officer not below the rank of Additional District Magistrate of the district where the alleged offence is committed, shall be notified by the State Government as the Adjudicating Officer for adjudication in the manner as may be prescribed by the Central Government. 2. The Adjudicating Officer shall, after giving the person a reasonable opportunity for making representation in the matter, and if, on such inquiry, he is satisfied that the person has committed the contravention of provisions of this Act or the rules or the regulations made there under, impose such penalty as he thinks fit in accordance with the provisions relating to that offence. 3. The Adjudicating Officer shall have the powers of a civil court and- a. all proceedings before him shall be deemed to be judicial proceedings within the meaning of sections 193 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code; b. shall be deemed to be a court for the purposes of sections 345 and 346 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. 4. While adjudicating the quantum of penalty under this Chapter, the Adjudicating Officer shall have due regard to the guidelines specified in section 49. 69. Power to compound offences. – 1. The Commissioner of Food Safety may, by order, empower the Designated Officer, to accept from petty manufacturers who himself manufacture and sell any article of food, retailers, hawkers, itinerant vendors, temporary stall holders against whom a reasonable belief exists that he has committed an offence or contravention against this Act, payment of a sum of money by way of composition of the offence which such person is suspected to have committed. 2. On the payment of such sum of money to such officer, the suspected person, if in custody, shall be discharged and no further proceedings in respect of the offence shall be taken against such person. 3. The sum of money accepted or agreed to be accepted as composition under sub- section (1), shall not be more than one lakh rupees and due regard shall be made to the guidelines specified in section 49: Provided that no offence, for which punishment of imprisonment has been prescribed under this Act, shall be compounded. 70. Establishment of Food Safety Appellate Tribunal. – 1. The Central Government or as the case may be, the State Government may, by notification, establish one or more tribunals to be known as the Food Safety Appellate Tribunal to hear appeals from the decisions of the Adjudicating Officer under section 68. 2. The Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be, shall prescribe, the matters and areas in relation to Which the Tribunal may exercise jurisdiction. 3. The Tribunal shall consist of one person only (hereinafter referred to as the Presiding Officer of the Tribunal) to be appointed, by notification, by the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be: Provided that no person shall be qualified for Appointment as a Presiding Officer to the Tribunal unless he is or has been a District Judge. 4. The qualifications, appointment, term of office, salary and allowances, resignation and removal of the Presiding Officer shall be Such as may be prescribed by the Central Government. 5. The procedure of appeal and powers of the Tribunal shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
71. Procedure and powers of Tribunal. –
1. The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 but shall be guided by the principles of natural justice and, subject to the other provisions of this Act and the rules made there under, the Tribunal shall have powers to regulate its own procedure including the place at which it shall have its sittings.
2. The Tribunal shall have, for the purposes of discharging its functions under this Act, the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, while trying a suit, in respect of the following matters, namely:-
a. summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath;
b. requiring the discovery and production of documents or other electronic records;
c. receiving evidence on affidavits;
d. issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents;
e. reviewing its decisions;
f. dismissing an application for default or deciding it ex parte;
g. any other matter which may be prescribed by the Central Government.
3. Every proceeding before the Tribunal shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228, and for the purposes of section 196 of the Indian Penal Code, it shall be deemed to be a civil court for all the purposes of section 195 and Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
4. The appellant may either appear in person or authorise one or more legal practitioners or any of its officers to represent his case before the Tribunal.
5. The provisions of the Limitation Act, 1963, shall, except as otherwise provided in this Act, apply to an appeal made to the Tribunal.
6. Any person aggrieved by any decision or order of the Tribunal may file an appeal to the High Court within sixty days from the date of communication of the decision or order of the Tribunal to him on any question of fact or law arising out of such order: Provided that the High Court may, if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal within the said period, allow it to be filed within a further period not exceeding sixty days.
72. Civil court not to have jurisdiction. –
No civil court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceeding in respect of any matter which an Adjudicating Officer or the Tribunal is empowered by or under this Act to determine and no injunction shall be granted by any court or other authority in respect of any action taken or to be taken in pursuance of any power conferred by or under this Act.
73. Power of court to try cases summarily. –
Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, all offences not triable by a Special Court, shall be tried in a summary way by a Judicial Magistrate of the first class or by a Metropolitan Magistrate and the provisions of sections 262 to 265 (both inclusive) of the said Code shall, as far as may be, apply to such a trial: Provided that in the case of any conviction in a summary trial under this section, it shall be lawful for the Magistrate to pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year: Provided further that when at the commencement of, or in the course of, a summary trial under this section, it appears to the Magistrate that the nature of the case is such that a sentence of imprisonment for a term exceeding one year may have to be passed or that it is, for any other reason, undesirable to try the case summarily, the Magistrate shall after hearing the parties, record an order to that effect and thereafter recall any witness who may have been examined and proceed to hear or rehear the case in the manner provided by the said Code.
74. Special courts and Public Prosecutor. –
1. Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the Central Government or the State Government in their respective jurisdictions may, if consider expedient and necessary in the public interest, for the purposes of the trial of offences relating to grievous injury or death of the consumer for which punishment of imprisonment for more than three years has been prescribed under this Act, constitute, by notification in the Official Gazette, as many Special Courts with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of the High Court as may be necessary for such area or areas and for exercising such jurisdiction, as may be specified in the notification.
2. A Special Court may, on its own motion, or on an application made by the Public Prosecutor and if it considers it expedient or desirable so to do, sit for any of its proceedings at any place other than its ordinary place of sitting.
3. The trial under this Act of any offence by a Special Court shall have precedence over the trial of any other case against the accused in any other court (not being a Special Court) and shall be concluded in preference to the trial of such other case and accordingly the trial of such other case shall remain in abeyance.
4. For every Special Court, the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be, shall appoint a person to be the Public Prosecutor and may appoint more than one person to be the Additional Public Prosecutors: Provided that the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be, may also appoint for any case or class or group of cases, a Special Public Prosecutor.
5. A person shall not be qualified to be appointed as a Public Prosecutor or an Additional Public Prosecutor or a Special Public Prosecutor under this section unless he has been in practice as an Advocate for not less than seven years or has held any post, for a period of not less than seven years, under the Union or a State, requiring special knowledge of law.
76. Appeal. –
1. Any person aggrieved by a decision or order of a Special Court may, on payment of such fee as may be prescribed by the Central Government and after depositing the amount, if any, imposed by way of penalty, compensation or damage under this Act, within forty-five days from the date on which the order was served, prefer an appeal to the High Court: Provided that the High Court may entertain any appeal after the expiry of the said period of forty-five days, if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause for filing the appeal within the said period.
2. An appeal preferred under this section shall be disposed of by the High Court by a bench of not less than two judges.
77. Time limit for prosecutions. –
Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, no court shall take cognizance of an offence under this Act after the expiry of the period of one year from the date of commission of an offence: Provided that the Commissioner of Food Safety may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, approve prosecution within an extended period of up to three years.
78. Power of court to implead manufacturer, etc. –
Where at any time during the trial of any offence under this Act alleged to have been committed by any person, not being the importer, manufacturer, distributor or dealer of any article of food, the court, is satisfied, on the evidence adduced before it, that such importer, manufacturer, distributor or dealer is also concerned with that offence, then the court may, notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (3) of section 319 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, or in section 71 of this Act, proceed against him as though a prosecution has been instituted under this Act.
79. Magistrate’s power to impose enhanced punishment. –
Notwithstanding anything contained in section 29 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, it shall be lawful for the court of ordinary jurisdiction to pass any sentence authorised by this Act, except a sentence of imprisonment for a term exceeding six years in excess of his powers under the said section.
80. Defences which may or may not be allowed in prosecution under this Act. –
A. Defence relating to publication of advertisements-
1. In any proceeding for an offence under this Act in relation to the publication of an advertisement, it is a defence for a person to prove that the person carried on the business of publishing or arranging for the publication of advertisements and that the person published or arranged for the publication of the advertisement in question in the ordinary course of that business.
2. Clause (1) does not apply if the person-
a. should reasonably have known that the publication of the advertisement was an offence; or
b. had previously been informed in writing by the relevant authority that publication of such an advertisement would constitute an offence; or
c. is the food business operator or is otherwise engaged in the conduct of a food business for which the advertisements concerned were published.
B. Defence of due diligence-
1. In any proceedings for an offence, it is a defence if it is proved that the person took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of the offence by such person or by another person under the person’s control.
2. Without limiting the ways in which a person may satisfy the requirements of clause (1), a person satisfies those requirements if it is proved-
a. that the commission of the offence was due to-
i. an act or default of another person; or
ii. reliance on information supplied by another person; and
i. the person carried out all such checks of the food concerned as were reasonable in all the circumstances; or
ii. it was reasonable in all the circumstances to rely on checks carried out by the person who supplied such food to the person; and
c. that the person did not import the food into the jurisdiction from another country; and
d. in the case of an offence involving the sale of food, that-
i. the person sold the food in the same condition as and when the person purchased it; or
ii. the person sold the food in a different condition to that in which the person purchased it, but that the difference did not result in any contravention of this Act or the rules and regulations made thereunder; and
e. that the person did not know and had no reason to suspect at the time of commission of the alleged offence that the person’s act or omission would constitute an offence under the relevant section.
3. In sub-clause (a) of clause (2), another person does not include a person who was-
a. an employee or agent of the defendant; or(b) in the case of a defendant which is a company, a director, employee or agent of that company.
4. Without limiting the ways in which a person may satisfy the requirements of clause (1) and item (i) of sub-clause (b) of clause (2), a person may satisfy those requirements by proving that-
a. in the case of an offence relating to a food business for which a food safety programme is required to be prepared in accordance with the regulations, the person complied with a food safety programme for the food business that complies with the requirements of the regulations, or
b. in any other case, the person complied with a scheme (for example, a quality assurance programme or an industry code of practice) that was-
i. designed to manage food safety hazards and based on national or international standards, codes or guidelines designed for that purpose, and
ii. documented in some manner.
C. Defence of mistaken and reasonable belief not available-In any proceedings for an offence under the provisions of this Act, it is no defence that the defendant had a mistaken but reasonable belief as to the facts that constituted the offence.
D. Defence in respect of handling food-In proceedings for an offence under section 56, it is a defence if it is proved that the person caused the food to which the offence relates to be destroyed or otherwise disposed of immediately after the food was handled in the manner that was likely to render it unsafe.
E. Defences of significance of the nature, substance or quality of food- It shall be no defence in a prosecution for an offence pertaining to the sale of any unsafe or misbranded article of food to allege merely that the food business operator was ignorant of the nature, substance or quality of the food sold by him or that the purchaser having purchased any article for analysis was not prejudiced by the sale.
Functions of Ombudsman (IRDA).
Functions of Ombudsman (IRDA).
|The institution of Insurance Ombudsman was created by a Government of India Notification dated 11th November, 1998 with the purpose of quick disposal of the grievances of the insured customers and to mitigate their problems involved in redressal of those grievances. This institution is of great importance and relevance for the protection of interests of policy holders and also in building their confidence in the system. The institution has helped to generate and sustain the faith and confidence amongst the consumers and insurers. |
Appointment of Insurance Ombudsman
The governing body of insurance council issues orders of appointment of the insurance Ombudsman on the recommendations of the committee comprising of Chairman, IRDA, Chairman, LIC, Chairman, GIC and a representative of the Central Government. Insurance council comprises of members of the Life Insurance council and general insurance council formed under Section 40 C of the Insurance Act, 1938. The governing body of insurance council consists of representatives of insurance companies.
Ombudsman are drawn from Insurance Industry, Civil Services and Judicial Services.
Terms of office
An insurance Ombudsman is appointed for a term of three years or till the incumbent attains the age of sixty five years, whichever is earlier. Re-appointment is not permitted.
Territorial jurisdiction of Ombudsman
he governing body has appointed twelve Ombudsman across the country allotting them different geographical areas as their areas of jurisdiction. The Ombudsman may hold sitting at various places within their area of jurisdiction in order to expedite disposal of complaints. The offices of the twelve insurance Ombudsmans are located at (1) Bhopal, (2) Bhubaneswar, (3) Cochin, (4) Guwahati, (5) Chandigarh, (6) New Delhi, (7) Chennai, (8) Kolkata, (9) Ahmedabad, (10) Lucknow, (11) Mumbai, (12) Hyderabad. The areas of jurisdiction of each Ombudsman has been mentioned in the list of Ombudsman.
Removal from office
An Ombudsman may be removed from service for gross misconduct committed by him during his term of office. The governing body may appoint such person as it thinks fit to conduct enquiry in relation to misconduct of the Ombudsman. All enquiries on misconduct will be sent to Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority which may take a decision as to the proposed action to be taken against the Ombudsman. On recommendations of the IRDA, the Governing Body may terminate his services, in case he is found guilty.
Power of Ombudsman
Insurance Ombudsman has two types of functions to perform (1) conciliation, (2) Award making. The insurance Ombudsman is empowered to receive and consider complaints in respect of personal lines of insurance from any person who has any grievance against an insurer. The complaint may relate to any grievance against the insurer i.e. (a) any partial or total repudiation of claims by the insurance companies, (b) dispute with regard to premium paid or payable in terms of the policy, (c) dispute on the legal construction of the policy wordings in case such dispute relates to claims; (d) delay in settlement of claims and (e) non-issuance of any insurance document to customers after receipt of premium.
Ombudsman’s powers are restricted to insurance contracts of value not exceeding Rs. 20 lakhs.The insurance companies are required to honour the awards passed by an Insurance Ombudsman within three months.
Manner of lodging complaint
The complaint by an aggrieved person has to be in writing, and addressed to the insurance Ombudsman of the jurisdiction under which the office of the insurer falls. The complaint can also be lodged through the legal heirs of the insured. Before lodging a complaint:
i) the complainant should have made a representation to the insurer named in the complaint and the insurer either should have rejected the complaint or the complainant have not received any reply within a period of one month after the concerned insurer has received his complaint or he is not satisfied with the reply of the insurer.
ii) The complaint is not made later than one year after the insurer had replied.
iii) The same complaint on the subject should not be pending with before any court, consumer forum or arbitrator.
Recommendations of the Ombudsman
When a complaint is settled through the mediation of the Ombudsman, he shall make the recommendations which he thinks fair in the circumstances of the case. Such a recommendation shall be made not later than one month and copies of the same sent to complainant and the insurance company concerned. If the complainant accepts recommendations, he will send a communication in writing within 15 days of the date of receipt accepting the settlement.
The ombudsman shall pass an award within a period of three months from the receipt of the complaint. The awards are binding upon the insurance companies.
If the policy holder is not satisfied with the award of the Ombudsman he can approach other venues like Consumer Forums and Courts of law for redressal of his grievances.
As per the policy-holder’s protection regulations, every insurer shall inform the policy holder along with the policy document in respect of the insurance Ombudsman in whose jurisdiction his office falls for the purpose of grievances redressal arising if any subsequently.
Steady increase in number of complaints received by various Ombudsman shows that the policy-holders are reposing their confidence in the institution of Insurance Ombudsman.
Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952
7D. Employees’ Provident Funds Appellate Tribunal
(1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute one or more Appellate Tribunals to be known as the Employees’ Provident Funds Appellate Tribunal to exercise the powers and discharge the functions conferred on such Tribunal by this Act and every such Tribunal shall have jurisdiction in respect of establishments situated in such area as may be specified in the notification constituting the Tribunal.
(2) A Tribunal shall consist of one person only to be appointed by the Central Government.
(3) A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a Presiding Officer of a Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as the Presiding Officer) unless he is or has been, or is qualified to be-
(i) a Judge of a High Court; or
(ii) a District Judge.]
7H. Staff of Tribunal
(1) The Central Government shall determine the nature and categories of the officers and other employees required to assist a Tribunal in the discharge of its functions and provide the Tribunal with such officers and other employees as it may think fit.
Protection of buyers
(2) The officers and other employees of a Tribunal shall discharge their functions under the general superintendence of the Presiding Officer.
(3) The salaries and allowances and other conditions of service of the officers and other employees of a Tribunal shall be such as may be prescribed.
7E. Term of office
The Presiding Officer of a Tribunal shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office or until he attains the age of sixty-two years, whichever is earlier.
7-I. Appeals to Tribunal
(1) Any person aggrieved by a notification issued by the Central Government, or an order passed by the Central Government or any authority, under the proviso to sub-section (3), or sub-section (4), of section 1, or section 3, or sub-section (1) of section 7A, or section 7B [except an order rejecting an application for review referred to in sub-section (5) thereof], or section 7C, or section 14B, may prefer an appeal to a Tribunal against such notification or order.
(2) Every appeal under sub-section (1) shall be filed in such form and manner, within such time and be accompanied by such fees, as may be prescribed.
7J. Procedure of Tribunal
(1) A Tribunal shall have power to regulate its own procedure in all matters arising out of the exercise of its powers or of the discharge of its functions including the places at which the Tribunal shall have its sittings.
(2) A Tribunal shall, for the purpose of discharging its functions, have all the powers which are vested in the officers referred to in section 7A and any proceeding before the Tribunal shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228, and for the purpose of section 196 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (45 of 1860), and the Tribunal shall be deemed to be a Civil Court for all the purposes of section 195 and Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974).
7K. Right of appellant to take assistance of legal practitioner and of government, etc. to appoint presenting officers
(1) A person preferring an appeal to a Tribunal under this Act may either appear in person or take the assistance of a legal practitioner of his choice to present his case before the Tribunal.
(2) The Central Government or a State Government or any other authority under this Act may authorize one or more legal practitioners or any of its officers to act as presenting officers and every person so authorized may present the case with respect to any appeal before a Tribunal.
7L. Orders of Tribunal
(1) A Tribunal may, after giving the parties to the appeal an opportunity of being heard, pass such orders thereon as it thinks fit, confirming, modifying or annulling the order appealed against or may refer the case back to the authority which passed such order with such directions as the Tribunal may think fit, for a fresh adjudication or order, as the case may be, after taking additional evidence, if necessary.
(2) A Tribunal may, at any time within five years from the date of its order, with a view to rectifying any mistake apparent from the record, amend any order passed by it under sub-section (1) and shall make such amendment in the order if the mistake is brought to its notice by the parties to the appeal:
PROVIDED that an amendment which has the effect of enhancing the amount due from, or otherwise increasing the liability of, the employer shall not be made under this sub-section, unless the Tribunal has given notice to him of its intention to do so and has allowed him a reasonable opportunity of being heard.
(3) A Tribunal shall send a copy of every order passed under this section to the parties to the appeal.
(4) Any order may by a Tribunal finally disposing of an appeal shall not be questioned in any Court of law.
The Real Estate Act makes it mandatory for all commercial and residential real estate projects where the land is over 500 square metres, or eight apartments, to register with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) for launching a project, in order to provide greater transparency in project-marketing and execution. For on-going projects which have not received completion certificate on the date of commencement of the Act, will have to seek registration within 3 months. Application for registration must be either approved or rejected within a period of 30 days from the date of application by the RERA. On successful registration, the promoter of the project will be provided with a registration number, a login id and password for the applicants to fill up essential details on the website of the RERA. For failure to register, a penalty of up to 10 percent of the project cost or three years’ imprisonment may be imposed. Real estate agents who facilitate selling or purchase of properties must take prior registration from RERA. Such agents will be issued a single registration number for each State or Union Territory, which must be quoted by the agent in every sale facilitated by him
The Act prohibits unaccounted money from being pumped into the sector and as of now 70 per cent of the money has to be deposited in bank accounts through cheques. A major benefit for consumers included in the Act is that builders will have to quote prices based on carpet area not super built-up area, while carpet area has been clearly defined in the Act to include usable spaces like kitchen and toilets.
Real Estate Regulatory Authority and Appellate Tribunal.
It will help to establish state-level Real Estate Regulatory Authorities (RERAs) to regulate transactions related to both residential and commercial projects and ensure their timely completion and handover. Appellate Tribunals will now be required to adjudicate cases in 60 days as against the earlier provision of 90 days and Regulatory Authorities to dispose of complaints in 60 days while no time frame was indicated in earlier Bill.
Here are few ways in which buyers are likely to be benefitted by the RERA Act:
- Under RERA, each state will have to setup regulatory bodies as appellate tribunals to solve the disputes between buyer and builder within 120 days.
- Developer will have to put 70% of the money collected from a buyer in a separate account to meet the construction cost of the project.
- RERA will make it mandatory for all commercial and residential real estate projects where the land is over 500 sq. met. or eight apartments will have to register with the regulator before launching a project.
- RERA also seeks to impose strict regulations on the promoter and ensure that construction is completed on time.
- Carpet area has been clearly defined in the bill to include usable spaces like kitchen and toilets imparting clarity which was not the case earlier.
- A developer’s liability to repair structural defects has been increased to 5 years from the earlier 2 years.
- The buyer will pay only for the carpet area (area within walls). The builder can’t charge for the super built-up area, as is the practice at present.
- Developers will be able to sell projects only after the necessary clearances. Under RERA, builders and agents will have to register themselves with the regulator and get all projects with more than eight apartments registered before launch.
- To enable informed decisions by buyers, Real Estate Regulatory Authorities will ensure publication on their websites information relating to profile and track record of promoters, details of litigations, advertisement and prospectus issued about the project, details of apartments, plots and garages, registered agents and consultants, development plan, financial details of the promoters, status of approvals and projects etc.
Impact of RERA
- Cushman and Wakefield report says residential project launches have fallen by 8% since the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016 was announced.
- The fall in new unit launches is most noticeable in the NCR. Launches in the residential sector are expected to remain restricted over the next 2 to 3 quarters as developers will be making changes to their business structure, operations and marketing strategies to comply with RERA norms.
- The share of affordable segment in total launches has improved. While sales have been weak across segments, it has been prominent in the high-end and luxury segments over the last quarters owing to demand-supply mismatches
- Under RERA, all property brokers will have to register with real estate regulators in their states, thus sieving out the small-time players and consolidating major ones
- In a major relief to citizens, the Real Estate Regulatory Authority has decided to accept complaints about unregistered projects for free of cost from informants until the 90-day period granted to builders to register their projects ends. The law though states that a mandatory fee of Rs 5,000 is required for filing of the complaint.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).
The main purpose of these two institutions established under the TRAI Act is to regulate telecommunication services, adjudicate disputes, dispose appeals and protect the interest of the service providers as well as the consumers. The Act also aims at promoting and ensuring orderly growth of the telecom sector.
Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal
The Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (Tribunal) is established under section 14 of the Act. It is the sole dispute resolution body in the communication sector. It can adjudicate upon any dispute between:
- Licensor (Central Government) and a licensee.
- Two or more service providers.
- Between a service provider and a group of consumers.
However, the Tribunal does not have any jurisdiction to try any matter which deals with anti-competitive trade practices or any consumer complaint.
Grounds and Procedures for Appeal to the Tribunal (Section 14A)
- The Central Government, State Government, any local authority or any person can approach the Tribunal for adjudication on matters related to dispute between parties mentioned above.
- It can make recommendation either on its own accord or on the request of the Government on the following matters:
- Need and timing of new service provider.
- Terms and conditions of the licence which may be granted to the service provider.
- Revocation of licence for not following the term and conditions of the licence.
- Measures to facilitate competition in the market and promote efficiency and growth in the telecom sector.
- Type of equipment to be used by service provider.
- Technological improvements in the services.
- Measure for development of telecommunication technology.
- Spectrum management.
- The TRAI also has to discharge certain functions apart from making recommendations to the Government:
- Ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the licence.
- Fix the terms and conditions of inter-connectivity between service providers.
- Ensure technical compatibility and effective inter-connection between different service providers.
- Regulate any arrangement between services providers for sharing of revenue derived from providing telecommunication services.
- Lay down standards for quality of service and also ensure and conduct periodal survey as to implementation of standards for quality of service.
- Lay down and ensure the time period for implementing local and long distance circuits of telecommunication between different service providers.
- Maintain register of interconnect agreements between service providers and such register should be made available to any member of the public for inspection on payment of a fee.
- Ensure effective compliance with the universal service obligations.
- Levy fees and charges at such rate and for services as determined by regulations.
Grounds and Procedures for Appeal to the Tribunal (Section 14A)
- The Central Government, State Government, any local authority or any person can approach the Tribunal for adjudication on matters related to dispute between parties mentioned above.
- An appeal can be referred to the Tribunal in case any party  is aggrieved by the decision of TRAI. However, such appeal has to be made to the Tribunal within 30 days from the date on which the party receives a copy of the decision or direction given by TRAI. However, the Telecom Tribunal may condone the delay provided that there is a reasonable ground justifying the delay.
- The Tribunal will pass an order after giving an opportunity to be heard, to the parties to the dispute.
- The Tribunal is also obligated to send a copy of the order passed by it to TRAI.
- In case of appeal from the decision of TRAI, the Tribunal should try to dispose of the case at the earliest and try to give a decision within 90 days from the date of appeal.
Composition of the Tribunal (Section 14B)
The Tribunal consists of a chairperson and two other members, appointed by the Central Government. Selection of chairperson and the two members is done in consultation with Chief Justice of India.
Qualification and term of office of the Chairperson and Members
The minimum qualification for a Chairperson is that he is or has been a judge of the Supreme Court or a Chief Justice of a High Court and the minimum qualification for a member is that he should have been at the post of a secretary to the Central Government or at any equivalent post in the Central Government. A person can also be qualified as a member of the Tribunal if he has held the position of Secretary under the State Government for a period more than two years and has knowledge and experience in technology, telecommunication, industry, commerce or administration.
Term of Office
The Chairperson can hold office till he attains the age of 75 or completes three years, whichever is earlier. The members of the Tribunal can hold office till they attain the age of 65 years or complete three years, whichever is earlier.
Procedure of the Tribunal
Procedure and powers of the Tribunal is laid down under section 16 of the TRAI Act. The Civil Procedure Code, 1908 which lays down the procedure of the conventional courts is not applicable to the Tribunal.
An appeal from the Tribunal’s final order in a matter can be directly referred to the Supreme Court under section 18 of the TRAI Act. However, in the circumstance where the Tribunal has passed an order with the consent of the parties to the dispute, no appeal can be made to any court or tribunal.
Within five years of its creation the Tribunal has already decided 400 cases consisting of complex questions of law.
NO OTHER COURT HAS JURISDICTION
- Civil Court
Civil Court’s jurisdiction is expressly barred under the TRAI Act with respect to cases / matters, which the TDSAT is empowered to determine.
TRAI was divested of its adjudicatory powers in the year 2000 and it does not have adjudicatory powers.
Arbitrator does not have jurisdiction in Telecom matters.
- High Court
High Courts have the power to deal with even telecom matters under their writ jurisdiction, but generally, the High Courts have preferred to send telecom cases to TDSAT, even if these are agitated in writ jurisdictions.
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