It is not possible to define the word ‘tribunal’ precisely and scientifically. The word ‘Tribunal’ is derived from the word ‘tribune’. Dictionary meaning of the word ‘tribune’ is a magistrate of Republican Period of Rome elected by the Roman Plebeians to defend their right; a champion of popular rights; a name for a newspaper; a platform for speaking from; a raised area for stand; bishop’s stall or throne. Tribunal judgment seat; Court of justice of arbitration; a body appointed to adjudicate in some matters. In common parlance dictionary meaning of the word ‘tribunal’ is ‘Court of justice’ or ‘seat of a Judge’.
Kinds of Tribunals:
There are two kinds of Tribunals i.e. domestic tribunal and statutory tribunal. There can be other types of Tribunals, but at this stage of our discussion we shall discuss only these two types of tribunals.
The tribunals, which are domestic in nature deals only with the internal disciplinary principle of any institution. It is a non-statutory body. It settles the dispute between employer and employee. Court fee is not needed in domestic tribunals. It deals with the private matters rather than public matters. Tribunals of Bangladesh Bar Council, different clubs serve as examples of domestic tribunals. At present there are five tribunals of Bangladesh Bar Council to deal with different disciplinary issues relating to its members.
The domestic tribunal is not a Court to follow procedures of the trial or enquiry according to the Civil Procedure Code, 1908. In appropriate cases, considering the facts and circumstances thereof, such a tribunal may arrive at a decision simply by questioning the accused and considering his explanation.
The Civil Courts have no power to look into the decisions of the domestic tribunal unless there is a breach of principle of natural justice and the decision is an act of bad faith and biased. The civil Court is not competent to sit over the decision of the executive Committee of the respondent Club unless it is proved that it is in a breach of principle of natural justice and the decision is an act of bad faith and biased.
In case of domestic tribunal, the enquiry officer is not to follow the procedure of a trial by a Court, he may, in appropriate cases, arrive at a decision simply by questioning the delinquent officer and considering his explanation.
Statutory tribunals are established by the provisions of statutes. For example, in Bangladesh, Labour Appellate Tribunal is a statutory tribunal, which is established under section 38 of the Industrial Relations Ordinance, 1969. Where a special tribunal out of the ordinary course is appointed by an Act to determine questions as to such rights which are the creation of that Act, then, except, so far as otherwise expressly provided or necessarily implied, that tribunal’s jurisdiction to determine those questions is exclusive.
Administrative tribunals are the glaring examples of statutory tribunals. These tribunals deal with the disputes between a govt. employee and the govt. arising out of the rules and regulations relating to the service matter. For example, in India, the Administrative Tribunal formed under the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 resolves the disputes between a govt. employee and the govt. arising out of the rules and regulations relating to service matter. In Bangladesh, the Administrative Tribunals established under the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1980 perform similar duties.
Besides there are some special Tribunals like Nan 0 Shishu Nirjatan Damon Tribunal, Acid Oporadh Damon Tribunal, Speedy Trial Tribunal and other Special Tribunal established under the Special Powers Act, 1974. The Nan 0 Shishu Nirjatan Damon Tribunals are established according to the provisions of section 26 of the Nan 0 Shishu Nirjatan Damon Am, 2000 (Act No. VIII of 2000) in every district to try offences committed under the said Act. The Acid Oporadh Damon Tribunals are established as per the provisions of section 23 of the Acid Niyontron Ain, 2002 to try offences under the Act.
When the statutory tribunal (i.e. special tribunal set up under a special statute) has acted beyond the scope of the power vested in it by the statute, the jurisdiction of the Civil Courts to examine into such cases is not taken away even if the statute contains words purporting to exclude such jurisdiction. This certainly is not the same thing as saying that jurisdiction has been made to depend upon the correctness or otherwise of the suitor’s contention as respects the subject matter.