Difference Between Tribunal and Court

The judiciary wing of the constitution performs a range of functions like dispute resolution, judicial review, enforcing fundamental rights, and upholding the law. It regulates the common law system of the country. In India, there are various levels of the judiciary which include the Supreme Court, the High Courts, and the subordinate courts. The subordinate courts include district courts and tribunals. The first and foremost difference between court and tribunal is that tribunals are subordinate to courts.

Courts are established to maintain law and order in the respective jurisdiction. On the contrary, tribunals are a part of judicial set up that deals with direct taxes, labour, cooperatives, claims for accidents, etc.

Definition of Tribunal

Tribunal is a quasi-judicial institution that is set up to deal with the problems such as resolving administrative or tax related disputes. It performs a number of functions like adjudicating disputes, determining rights between contesting parties, making an administrative decision, reviewing an existing administrative decision and so forth. The different types of tribunals are:

  • Central Administrative Tribunal: The tribunal is set up to resolve the disputes related to the recruitment and service conditions for selected personnel in public services, as well as posts as regards the union affairs or other local authorities.
  • Income Tax Appellate Tribunal: The tribunal is set up to deal with appeals under the direct tax acts, wherein the decision made by the tribunal is considered as final. However, if a material question of law arises for determination, then the appeal goes to the High Court.
  • Industrial Tribunal/Labor Court: It is a judiciary body that is established to adjudicate industrial disputes concerning any matter. The tribunal consists of one person who is designated as the presiding officer of a Tribunal.
  • Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal: The tribunal is formed to deal with the matters and disputes concerning the motor accident claims provided by the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988. According to the Act, compulsory third party insurance has to be done and proper procedure to be adopted by the tribunal to settle the claims under dispute.

Definition of Court

The court can be described as the judiciary body set up by the government to adjudicate disputes between the competing parties through a formal legal process. It aims at giving justice in civil, criminal, and administrative matters, as per the rule of law. In short, a court is a government institution where the decision on legal matters is taken by the judge or panel of judges or magistrates. The various types of courts are described as under:

  • Supreme Court: The Supreme Court is an apex body, which is a court of record. All the courts in the country are bounded by the law made by the Supreme Court. It entertains appeals with respect to civil and criminal cases from the High Court and certain tribunals. It is the protector and guarantor of fundamental rights of the citizens.
  • High Court: The chief judiciary at the state level is the High Court which enjoys civil and criminal, general, and special jurisdiction. It has supervisory power over the subordinate courts and tribunals.
  • Subordinate Courts: There are several civil and criminal courts, both original and appellate, that functions in their respective jurisdiction. These courts have the same functions all around the country, with slight variations.

Difference Table

Ground Tribunal Court
Meaning Tribunals can be described as minor courts, that adjudicates disputes arising in special cases. Court refers to a part of legal system which are established to give their decisions on civil and criminal cases.
Decision Awards Judgement, decree, conviction or acquittal
Deals with Specific cases Variety of cases
Party A tribunal may be a party to the dispute. Court judges are impartial arbitrator and not a party.
Headed by Chairperson and other judicial members Judge, panel of judges or magistrate
Code of Procedure No such code of procedure. It has to follow the code of procedure strictly.

Author: Shubham siwach

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