The authors of the Bangladeshi Constitution carefully evaluated Administrative Tribunal and included sixteen references to it.Bangladesh’s legal system is based on English Common Law, where ordinary courts handle administrative matters.
Tribunals operate alongside conventional courts worldwide because they benefit justice seekers and administrators. Social legislation of the 20th century required tribunals for administrative reasons: they could provide faster, cheaper, and more accessible justice for welfare schemes with many small claims, unlike courts, which are slow, expensive, and complicated.
Technically, ‘Tribunal’ cannot be defined. The dictionary definition of ‘Tribunal’ is ‘Court of justice’ or ‘seat of a Judge’.
Regardless of its name, a tribunal is any person or entity having the power to judge, adjudicate, or resolve claims or disputes. An advocate standing before a single judge may call him ‘their tribunal’. To underscore their non-judicial nature, several government entities are called “tribunals.” Body function is not determined by the word ‘tribunal’.
Article 102(5) of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh defines “tribunal” as all adjudicating bodies constituted by the state and invested with judicial rather than administrative or executive functions.
A tribunal is a judicial assembly under Section 74(1) (ii) of the Evidence Act, 1872.
The word ‘administrative’ refers to wide regions of government where power repositories may perform all legislative functions. Administrative courts handle administrative matters.
The Administrative Tribunal handles republic or statutory government issues. Administrative courts were created to adjudicate conflicts between the executive branch, bureaucracy, and people and non-government groups.
The Administrative Tribunal is the third kind of judicial body in Part VI of the Bangladeshi Constitution, 1972 (Article 117).
Bangladesh Constitution, Administrative Tribunal:
The 1972 Bangladesh Constitution’s authors incorporated the clause in Article 117.
Since Article 102(5) prohibits writs against Administrative Tribunals, Parliament may create one or more under Article 117(1) of the Bangladesh Constitution, 1972.
Such tribunals may handle-
a) terms and conditions of Republic employees, including Part IX concerns and sanctions or penalty
b) Acquiring, managing, and disposing of government-owned property, including nationalized enterprises and statutory public authorities
c) Any legislation covered by 102(3).
Article 102 (3) of the Constitution of Bangladesh, 1972 states that the High Court Division cannot issue any interim or other ruling on any law to which article 47 relates.
No legislation governing any of the following shall be invalid if it is inconsistent with, or takes away or abridges, any of the rights secured by this Part, per Article 47(1).
a) Controlling or managing property, whether temporarily or permanently, by forceful purchase, nationalization, or requisition
b) mandatory merger of commercial or other entities
(c) the extinction, modification, limitation, or regulation of directors, managers, agents, and officials of such entities or the voting rights of shareholders.
d) Termination, modification, limitation, or control of mineral or oil exploration rights
e) Any commerce, company, industry, or service conducted by the Government or a government-owned, controlled, or managed firm without the participation of others
f) any right to property, a profession, occupation, trade, business, or the rights of employers or employees in any statutory public authority or commercial or industrial undertaking unless Parliament expressly declares that such provision is made to implement any of the fundamental principles of state policy in Part II of this Constitution.
‘Court’ as defined in Article 152 includes Supreme Court, hence the HCD cannot hear writ petitions for Administrative Tribunal matters. It is evident that the Supreme Court cannot hear or decide Administrative Tribunal matters.
When the Constitution exiles the HCD’s jurisdiction, it can only use it for basic rights violations.
Tribunal processes, orders, and decisions cannot be challenged, reviewed, overturned, or questioned in court. The Appellate Tribunal’s judgment is exempt from appeal under Article 102 since Article 117 applies to it.
No writ petition may challenge an Administrative Tribunal judgment under Art.102 (5) and Art.117 (2). Constitution is silent on Administrative Appellate Tribunal. Writ petitions are unmaintainable where the issue is administrative interpretation of a service regulation.
Who uses Administrative Tribunal?
Government and other statutory public authority employees may only seek recourse in Administrative Tribunals for terms and conditions. An Administrative Tribunal may hear complaints from government officials or statutory public authority employees who are aggrieved by any order or decision affecting their terms and conditions of employment, including pension benefits, or by any action taken against them.
However, a non-government official or statutory public authority official may petition to an Administrative Tribunal for an order, judgment, or action under any statute relevant to the terms and conditions until the higher authority issues it.
Administrative Tribunal jurisdiction
An Administrative Tribunal has exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide applications by any person in the Republic’s or any statutory public authority’s service terms and conditions, including pension rights, or any action taken in relation to him.
Time Limit to File Case
The Administrative Tribunal must receive an application within six months following the departmental higher authority’s judgment. Limitation will block the application if not submitted on time.
Administrative Tribunal Power and Procedures
A Tribunal has all the powers of a Civil Court for Trial of an Application or Appeal, including:
(a) Summoning, requiring, and examining someone under oath
(b) Needing any document found and produced
(c) Affidavit proof needed
(d) Requesting a public document or copy from any agency
(e) Commissioning witness or document examinations, etc.
The Administrative Appellate Tribunal hears and rules on Administrative Tribunal orders and decisions.
Time Limit for Appeal:
Within three months of an Administrative Tribunal’s order or judgment, a person may appeal to the Administrative Appellate Tribunal. If the appellant convinces the Administrative Appellate Tribunal that he has good reason for not filing the appeal within three months, it may be granted beyond six months. Any Administrative Tribunal order or judgment may be confirmed, set aside, varied, or modified by the Administrative Appellate Tribunal in an appeal.
Estimated Appeal outcome:
For the purpose of applying to the Administrative Tribunals under this section, the higher administrative authority shall be deemed to have disalloyed an appeal or application for review in respect of an order, decision, or action referred to in the preceding proviso if no decision has been made within two months of the date on which the appeal or application was preferred or made.
Legal jurisdiction of Administrative Appellate Tribunal members:
The Administrative Appellate Tribunal has a chairman and two government-appointed members.
Administrative Appellate Tribunal members’ jurisdictions:
• The Administrative Appellate Tribunal majority will prevail in any disagreement.
• In the absence of an Administrative Appellate Tribunal member, the Chairman and the other current member might consider appeals.
• The Administrative Appellate Tribunal member or Chairman might establish administrative arrangements as needed to accomplish its duties.
• At any point of the proceedings, the Administrative Appellate Tribunal might transfer a matter from one Administrative Tribunal to another on its own initiative, on the application of any party, or by written referral from an Administrative Tribunal.
Tribunal Decision/Judgment Binding
Administrative Tribunal and Administrative Appellate Tribunal rulings and decrees bind both the tribunals and parties involved.
Tribunals are crucial to justice, but they have flaws that must be addressed.Since tribunals have grown in number and prominence, they can no longer be considered an appendage to the regular court of law.
The normal legal procedure includes them.Both the perceived shortcomings of common law courts—formality, speed, lack of knowledge in certain specific areas of law, expense, etc.—and the advent of welfare laws have contributed to the creation of tribunals. They also show tribunals’ perceived benefits as informal, fast, affordable, and subject-matter-expert.