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Contact Address
Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), 61/35 Copernicus Marg,
New Delhi - 110 001,INDIA


Introduction

The Hon'ble Chief Justice of India, Hon'ble Judges of the Supreme Court as well as the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India and Hon'ble Minister of Law had expressed their anguish on many occasions about the delay in deciding cases pending in Courts. We are glad to say that the experience and trend in the Central Administrative Tribunal is otherwise. On the occasion of the opening of the new building of the Principal Bench of the Tribunal, some features of the dispensation of justice in the Tribunal are highlighted. With a view to easing the congestion of pending cases in various High Courts and other Courts in the country, Parliament had enacted the Adminisitrative Tribunals Act, 1985 which came into force in July, 1985 and the Administrative Tribunals were established in November, 1985 at Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Allahabad. Today, there are 17 Benches of the Tribunal located throughout the country wherever the seat of a High Court is located, with 33 Division Benches. In addition, circuit sittings are held at Nagpur, Goa, Aurangabad, Jammu, Shimla, Indore, Gwalior, Bilaspur, Ranchi,  Pondicherry, Gangtok, Port Blair, Shillong, Agartala, Kohima, Imphal, Itanagar, Aizwal and Nainital.

The Central Administrative Tribunal has been established for adjudication of 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 or other local authorities within the territory of India or under the control of Government of India and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. This was done in pursuance of the amendment of Constitution of India by Articles 323A. In the statement of objects and reasons on the introduction of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985, it was mentioned that the setting up of such Administrative Tribunals exclusively would go a long way in reducing the burden on the various courts and reduce pendency and would also provide to the persons covered by the Administrative Tribunals a speedy and relatively cheap and effective remedy. In addition to Central Government employees, the Government of India has notified 45 other organizations to bring them within the jurisdiction of the Central Administrative Tribunal. The provisions of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 do not, however, apply to members of paramilitary forces, armed forces of the Union, officers or employees of the Supreme Court, or to persons appointed to the Secretariat Staff of either House of Parliament or the Secretariat staff of State/Union Territory Legislatures.

A Chairman who has been a sitting or retired Judge of a High Court heads the Central Administrative Tribunal. Besides the Chairman, the authorized strength consists of 16 Vice-Chairmen and 49 Members. The conditions of service of Chairman, Vice-Chairmen and Members are governed by the provisions of the Central Administrative Tribunal (Salaries and Allowances and Conditions of Service of Chairman, Vice-Chairmen and Members), Rule, 1985, as amended from time to time. As per Rule 15-A, notwithstanding anything contained in Rule 4 to 15 of the said Rules, the conditions of service and other perquisites available to the Chairman and Vice-Chairmen of the Central Administrative Tribunal shall be same as admissible to a serving Judge of a High Court as contained in the High Court Judges (Conditions of Service) Act, 1954 and High Court Judges (Traveling Allowances) Rules, 1956, as amended from time to time
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After the constitution of the Tribunal in 1985, in the beginning, under Section 29 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985, the Tribunal received on transfer from the High Courts and Subordinate Courts 13,350 cases, which were pending there. Thereafter, till November 2001, 3,71,448 cases were instituted in the Tribunal. Out of these, 3,33,598 cases have already been disposed of. The total number of cases received on transfer as well as those instituted directly at various Benches of the Tribunal till 30.06.2006 is 4,76,336, of which the Tribunal has disposed of 4,51,751 cases leaving a balance of 24585 cases which constitutes disposal of 94%. The institution of cases in the Tribunal has increased tremendously but the rate of disposal of the cases has also quantatively increased and in the Principal Bench of the Tribunal at New Delhi, the disposal is 94%. During the year 2000, over 91% of cases of the Principal Bench of the Tribunal have been upheld in Writ Petition by the Delhi High Court and so quantitively also the Tribunal has performed well.

The Tribunal follows the principles of natural justice in deciding cases and the procedure, prescribed by Evidence Act or CPC does not apply. The Tribunal is also a specialized organization, which deals with only service matters in respect of the Central Government employees and other employees who have been notified. Principal Bench here is dealing presently with the cases instituted in the year 2005 and 2006 and the total number of cases pending at the end of June, 2006 is 2708. The Central Administrative Tribunal is doing its best to expedite the disposal of cases. For the year 2001 and right up to June, 2006 the overall disposal of cases has exceeded the number of freshly instituted cases, as a result of which the total pendency has reduced. Where the pendency of cases is on higher side in any Bench, Members are being deputed from other Benches to that Bench for wiping out the pendency. The original Applications in the Principal Bench are generally disposed of in four to six months, thus justifying the aim of the Legislature in setting up the Administrative Tribunals to provide a speedy, relatively inexpensive and efficacious remedy to the employees who feel aggrieved.

The Central Administrative Tribunal is empowered to prescribed its own rules of practice for discharging its functions subject to the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 and Rules made there under. For this purpose, the Central Administrative Tribunal Rules of Practice, 1993 have been notified. Similarly, for the purpose of laying down a common procedure for all Benches of the Tribunal, the Central Administrative Tribunal (Procedure) Rules, 1987 have been notified. Under Section 17 of the Administrative Tribunal Act, 1985, the Tribunal has been conferred the power to exercise the same jurisdiction and authority in respect of contempt of itself as a High Court.

The employees of the Central Administrative Tribunal are required to discharge their duties under the general superintendence of the Chairman. Salaries and allowances and conditions of service of the officers and other employees of the Tribunal are specified by the Central Government. Pursuant to these provisions the Central Government have notified the Central Administrative Tribunal Staff (Conditions of Service) Rules, 1985. There are 1288 posts classified in 38 categories for assisting the Tribunal in discharging its functions. The Central Administrative Tribunal is a Growing institution with increasing responsibilities and load of work.