The Central Administrative Tribunal which was established for redressal of grievances and complaints by or against central government employees nowadays is exercising its powers as an independent judicial authority.” Explain.
The First Administrative Reforms Commission (1966-70) had recommended the setting up of Civil Service Tribunals to function as final appellate authorities. The call was again echoed by J.C. Shah Committee which had recommended the establishment of an administrative tribunal to adjudicate on service matters.
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) was established through the 42nd constitutional amendment act under Part XIV-A of the constitution. The CAT:
- Adjudicates disputes with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union.
- CAT also has jurisdiction on the employees of Public Sector Undertakings/ Organizations notified by the Government.
- CAT is not bound by the procedural logjams and a person making an application to a tribunal may either appear in person or take the assistance of a legal practitioner.
Independent Judicial Authority
- The Delhi High Court has ruled that the Central Administrative Tribunal can exercise the same jurisdiction and powers as a High Court in respect of its contempt proceedings.
- CAT which has original jurisdiction in relation to recruitment and conditions of service of persons is actively intervening against the politically motivated transfer of officials.
- CAT is not bound by the procedure laid down in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 and is guided by the principles of natural justice. The appeals against the orders of a tribunal could be made in High Court. Thus there is an element of judicial oversight which avoids any inherent bias and assures its autonomy.
- The CAT recently took strong objections to an order of Delhi High Court for directing it to swiftly decide a matter that was originally pending before the tribunal.
With passing time the Central Administrative Tribunal has become more assertive in discharging its duties as an independent judicial authority. This is even recognised by the judiciary.