JURISDICTION OF THE TRIBUNAL
1.Under Section 36 of the Railways Act, 1989, the Tribunal can hear and decide in respect of any complaint against a railway administration that it –
(a)is contravening the provisions of Sec 70; (prohibition of undue preference) or
(b)is charging for the carriage of any commodity between two stations a rate which is unreasonable; or
(c)is levying any other charge which is unreasonable.
While granting relief, the Tribunal may
(i)fix such rate or charge as it considers reasonable from any date as
it may deem proper, not being a date earlier to the date of the
filing of the complaint;
(ii)direct a refund of amount, if any, as being the excess of the rate or charge fixed by the Tribunal under clause (i).
2.Sec.41 mandates that in case of any complaint under Clause (a) of Sec.36, the burden of proof on the respective parties shall be as laid down therein.
3.Under Section 37, following matters are excluded from the jurisdiction of the Tribunal.
a)classification or re-classification of any commodity;
b)fixation of wharfage and demurrage charges (including
conditions attached to such charges);
c)fixation of fares levied for the carriage of passengers
and freight levied for the carriage of luggage, parcels,
railway material and military traffic; and
d)fixation of lump sum rates.
4Sec.43 provides that no suit shall be instituted or proceedings taken in respect of any matter which the Tribunal is empowered to deal with or decide under the Chapter VII.
5.However, Section 39 of the Act provides for the Central Government to make a reference to the Tribunal in respect of any of the matter specified in Para 5.3 above for enquiry and report.Sec.40 of the Act obligates the Central Government to give to the Tribunal such assistance as it may require and shall also place at its disposal any information in the possession of the Central Government which that Government may think relevant to any matter before the Tribunal.
6.Decision, etc., of the Tribunal.—The decisions or orders of the Tribunal shall be by a majority of the members sitting and shall be final.However, an appeal can be made before the Supreme Court by a Special Leave Petition under Art. 136 of the Constitution of India.That apart, as per the position of law declared by the Supreme Court, the decisions of any Tribunal constituted and functioning like the one under consideration, can be challenged before a Division Bench of the High Court concerned invoking jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India (vide decision reported in All India Reporter 1997 SC 1125).
7.Where a railway administration considers that since the date of decision by the Tribunal, there has been a material change in the circumstances on which it was based, it may, after the expiry of one year from such date, make an application to the Tribunal under Section 45 of the Act and the Tribunal may, after making such inquiry as it considers necessary, vary or revoke the decision.