HC to be relieved of burden of over 26,000 pending cases
JAMMU, Aug 29: For the first time, Jammu and Kashmir will get Administrative Tribunal for adjudication or trial of disputes and complaints with respect to the recruitment and conditions of the service of persons appointed to the public services. This at the very outset will help in prompt disposal of over 26,000 pending service matters and reduce burden on both the wings of the High Court.
All this will become possible under the Administrative Tribunals Act, which was enacted by the Union Government in the year 1985 but could not be extended to Jammu and Kashmir because of Article 370.
From November 1, 2019 this Central Law would become applicable to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh as per the provisions of the J&K Reorganization Act, 2019 whereby two Union Territories are going to be established.
This Act provides for the adjudication or trial by Administrative Tribunals of disputes and complaints 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 of any State or of any local or other authority within the territory of India.
Section 4 of the Act states: “The Central Government may, on receipt of a request from any State Government, establish, by notification, an Administrative Tribunal for such State to exercise the jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred on the Administrative Tribunal for the State by or under this Act”.
Moreover, there is also a provision in the Act for Joint Administrative Tribunal for two or more States after formal agreement between such States in this regard and with the approval of the Central Government. “However, this option is unlikely to be considered in respect of proposed Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh and both the UTs will be covered by one Administrative Tribunal”, official sources said.
“The establishment of Administrative Tribunal for both the UTs will go a long way in disposal of huge chunk of service matters numbering 26,552 minus the contempt petitions arising out of them, which are pending for disposal in both the wings of the High Court since long and will be transferred to the Tribunal following its formal establishment”, they further said.
Section 29 of the Act states: “Every suit or other proceeding pending before any court or authority immediately before the date of establishment of a Tribunal shall stand transferred on that date to such Tribunal”.
The setting up of Administrative Tribunal will serve twin purposes. First, High Court will be relieved of the burden of these service matters and get adequate time to attend other cases which are also pending for disposal since long. Secondly, litigants’ agony due to delay in disposal of cases will come to an end.
The Administrative Tribunal shall exercise jurisdiction, powers and authority in relation to recruitment and matters concerning recruitment to any civil service of the State or to any civil post under the State and connected matters.
“All proceedings before the Tribunal shall be deemed to be judicial proceedings within the meanings of Sections 193, 219 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code”, read Section 3 of the Administrative Tribunals Act.
The Tribunal shall consist of Chairman and such number of Judicial and Administrative Members as the Government may deem fit. A person shall not be qualified for appointment as the Chairman unless he is, or has been a Judge of the High Court.
It is pertinent to mention here that State Law Commission headed by Justice (retd) M K Hanjura has already made recommendation to the Chief Secretary for establishment of Administrative Tribunal and with the extension of Central Law from November 1, 2019 onwards this recommendation will become reality, which in the normal circumstances may have faced hurdles.
“Administrative Tribunal becomes imperative taking into consideration the number of service matters sub-judice in the High Court, which is mind boggling and in some of which the petitioners don’t appear to harvest the fruits of litigation in their lifetime”, Justice Hanjura has mentioned in the report, which was exclusively published by EXCELSIOR on August 2, 2019.