The All India Conference of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) began here today. The Conference, which is being held in the Silver Jubilee year of the CAT, was inaugurated by Mr. Justice Altamas Kabir, a senior Judge of the Supreme Court and was presided over by Dr. M. Veerappa Moily, the Union Minister of Law & Justice. The Minister of State for Personnel, P.G. & Pensions, Shri V. Narayanasamy was also present on the occasion. The Inaugural Session was followed by in house discussion on the agenda items raised by the Members and the session was chaired by the Chairman, CAT, Justice V.K. Bali.
Speaking at the Inaugural Session, the Union Minister of Law & Justice Dr. Moily called upon for the change of attitude in our administrative governance to ensure that unnecessary and trivial service matters are not brought before the Tribunals and Courts. He said that we need to devise mechanism where the problems of the employees are sorted out in the administrative set up itself. To sort out these issues, he said, we need to do ‘out of the box thinking’. He said that the accountability, performance and output of the employees must be judged while handling their cases.
In his inaugural address, Mr. Justice Altamas Kabir applauded the Central Administrative Tribunal for disposing of the cases before it expeditiously and also commended it for the fact that most of its judgments have been upheld by the higher courts.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister of State for Personnel, P.G. & Pensions, Shri V. Narayanasamy said that the pendency in the Tribunal is substantially low and the time period to dispose of cases is much less compared to higher courts. He said that the government is seriously thinking of ways and means to bring within the jurisdiction of the Central Administrative Tribunal many more Central Govt. organizations and institutions working.
He said that so far we have brought 191 organizations within the ambit of the CAT, so that more Government employees would be in a position to get speedy justice for their grievances. If we can fulfill the infrastructure needs of CAT, even the PSUs and Public Sector Banking Institutions could be covered. He asked the CAT officials to send a proposal to Planning Commission stipulating their infrastructural needs and assured that his Ministry would make efforts to ensure that CAT’s requirements in this regard are fully met.
Shri Narayanasamy said that the historic RTI Act, 2005, has brought great transparency in governance. He said that we are taking further steps to improve RTI law to strengthen it to increase public disclosure, so that most of the information except national security and personal privacy related information would be in public domain.
In his Key note address, Mr. Justice G.S. Singhvi, Judge, Supreme Court of India emphasized on reforms in the Public Services Commissions of the States and said that persons of impeccable integrity should be holding positions in such Boards. He said the Government must ensure that the matters like gratuity and pension etc are resolved in-house and such matters should not reach the Tribunals or the Courts. He called for evolving departmental mechanism which can address the employees’ grievances and thus help reducing burden of courts in service matters.
The Chairman of the CAT, Mr. Justice V.K. Bali said that the about 200 institutions/organizations have been notified resulting into manifold increase in the work of the various Benches of the CAT. But despite quantitative increase in the work, the Tribunals across the country have kept pace with disposal, he said.
Justice Bali informed that at the Principal Bench, the disposal rate is 100%. On an average, 91% cases of the Principal Bench have been upheld in the High Court and the position with regard to other Benches not much different, he said. Justice Bali said that the Tribunal has performed well quantitatively and qualitatively.
Earlier Shri L.K. Joshi, Vice-Chairman of the Central Administrative Tribunal delivered the Welcome Address and later Vote of Thanks was proposed by Shri K.V. Sachidanandan, also Vice-Chairperson.
The Administrative Tribunals in India were set up in 1985 and function from 17 Benches across the country. These Tribunals are unique in the sense that the Members of these Tribunals are both from the Administrative as well as Judicial side. Each Division Bench comprises of a judicial & administrative Member. The Administrative Tribunals in India are different from the Tribunals functioning in some other countries as the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) here was set up solely with the purpose of dealing with the cases relating to the recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services and posts under the control of the Government and thereby, reducing the burden of the High Courts to that extent.
The Conference being held is an Annual Conference which is generally held on 1st Nov every year as this was the day the CAT was established. It is attended by all the Members of the CAT where agenda items brought up by the various Members and other issues being faced by the Tribunal are discussed and recommendations of the Conference are sent to the Government for action. This year is being celebrated as the ‘Silver Jubilee” year of the setting up of the CAT.