No regular bench of CAT for 4.90 lakh employees of J&K

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By KNO on 30/04/2020.

No regular bench of CAT for 4.90 lakh employees of J&K

31206 service matter cases in HC being transferred to Chandigarh bench; Tribunal’s bench has 2 members to deal with 6 states & UTs

Srinagar, Apr 30: Jammu & Kashmir Union Territory won’t have a regular bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) for adjudication of service matters of government employees as BJP-led Central government has empowered Chandigarh bench of the Tribunal to hear such matters in the newly carved out Union Territory.

The Department of Personnel and Trainings (DOPT) on Wednesday notified that service matters of J&K and Ladakh UTs would be dealt by the CAT’s Chandigarh bench whose mandate was restricted to hearing matters of central government employees in the erstwhile state of J&K. The CAT will deal with matters like services, employment, pension etc.

Before re-organization of J&K, the services matter of the employees of the J&K Government were being adjudicated by Kashmir and Jammu wings of High Court.

The Administrative Tribunal Act-1985, which governs creation and functioning of CAT, became applicable to both the UTs from October 31 as per the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act.

From October 31 onwards, the High Court stopped hearing service matters of the employees and started the process of identifying cases to be transferred to CAT.

As many 31206 cases-14871 from Srinagar wing and 16335 from Jammu wing- are being transferred to CAT from J&K High Court, details collected by Kashmir News Observer revealed.

When contacted, Arun Kumar, Registrar, CAT, Chandigarh bench told KNO that J&K and Ladakh UTs have come under its jurisdiction. “We will wait for orders of J&K High Court as well as J&K government for transferring the cases,” he said, adding that they were earlier holding circuit bench at Srinagar and Jammu for central government employees on quarterly basis. He said Tribunal will now adjudicate service matters of all employees in J&K.

The Central Administrative Tribunal is empowered to adjudicate disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services and posts in India. It has 17 regular benches including Chandigarh bench. The northern state of Rajasthan has two regular benches of CAT at Jodhpur and Jaipur.

According to DOPT notification, Chandigarh bench will deal with service matters of employees in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, J&K and Ladakh. The Chandigarh bench is functioning with only two members against sanctioned strength of four. Interestingly, the Centre has decided against creation of an independent bench for Jammu & Kashmir even as strength of employees in the UT is 4.90 lakh.

Talking to news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), former advocate general and senior lawyer Jehangir Iqbal Ganie said that there was a need for creation of regular bench for Srinagar as well as Jammu given pendency of service matters in J&K High Court.

“The maximum litigation in J&K High Court pertains to service matters,” he said. Transfer of cases Section 29(1) of the law provides for transfer of the pending cases to CAT.

“Every suit or other proceeding pending before any court or other authority immediately before the date of establishment of a Tribunal under this Act being a suit or proceeding the cause of action whereon it is based is such that it would have been, if it has arisen after such establishment, within the jurisdiction of such Tribunal shall stand transferred on that date to such Tribunal,” states the law. An employee can go to High Court to challenge CAT decision