Law Comm recommends Administrative Tribunal for adjudication of employees’ services disputes

Step to ease burden on HC, end petitioners’ mental agony
Over 26,000 service matters await resolution since long

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Aug 1: Concerned over huge pendency of employees’ service matters in both the wings of the High Court for quite long time, Jammu and Kashmir Law Commission has recommended creation of State Administrative Tribunal for speedy adjudication or trial of disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to the public services in the State.
In its report submitted to the Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, the copy of which is available with EXCELSIOR, the State Law Commission headed by Justice (Retd) M K Hanjura has mentioned that the Commission has considered working of the Tribunal System in different States of the country and analyzed the provisions in the existing laws for constitution of State Administrative Tribunal in Jammu and Kashmir along with relevant data available on the subject.
Most of the States of the Indian Union have constituted and created Administrative Tribunals for the redressal of the grievances of employees with an avowed object to settle their claims expeditiously as these pertain to the conditions of their service, the Commission said in the report and stressed that every endeavour has to be made by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir also to see that an Administrative Tribunal is constituted so that the employees of the State Government can seek justice by knocking at the door of the Tribunal whenever they are aggrieved by any action on the part of the State.
“The constitution of such a Tribunal in the State of Jammu and Kashmir becomes all the more important and imperative taking into consideration the huge pendency of service matters in both the wings of the High Court”, the Commission said, adding “a huge chunk of cases numbering more than 26,552 minus the contempt petitions arising out of them are pending for disposal for quite long time”.
The report further said, “such a resolve will also facilitate the High Court to attend to the other cases which are pending for disposal since long”, adding “a case cannot be dragged over a very unconscionably long period, during which, any petitioner will face mental agony, torture, pain and suffer anguish and anxiety about an uncertain, vague and unstructured future, both of life and job during the pendency of case”.
“This fate in extreme cases, may result in the petitioner’s sufferings, ego-disintegration and personality disorientation, like depression etc. A case cannot be permitted to wend its tortuous course for a long time. There are some petitioners in the service matters who have entered in the 6th, 7th and 8th decade of their life tottering or rather doddering their way to register their presence in the court, on the dates of hearing, some alone and forlorn, and, some accompanied by epigones”, the Commission has observed in the report.
Stating that access to justice is and has been recognized as an integral part of the right to life and it is a basic and inalienable human right which has been recognized in all the connected systems, the Commission said, “it is importunate for the State of Jammu and Kashmir to set up an Administrative Tribunal for adjudication or trial of disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to the public service and the posts in connection with the affairs of the State”.
It has been mentioned in the report by Justice (Retd) M K Hanjura that Administrative Tribunal becomes imperative taking into consideration the number of service matters subjudice in the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir which is mind boggling and in some of which the petitioners do not appear to harvest the fruits of litigation in their lifetime.
Stating that some alternative has to be devised and space has to be carved out for the speedy adjudication of service matters, the Commission said, “establishment of Tribunal will not only heal the sores of the litigation of the persons appointed to the public service in the State of Jammu and Kashmir but will also give them a succour”.
The report said, “the Acts and Rules as formulated and promulgated by the various States for the smooth functioning of the Administrative Tribunals can be seen and examined for their application to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. However, the Uttar Pradesh model appears to be a better one with slight modifications, application and amendments as may be relevant to the State particularly in light of the age of the incumbents manning the posts of the Chairman and the Members of the Tribunal which may be specified and provided on the same analogy as has been worked out in the case of the Accountability and the Human Rights Commissions”.
It is pertinent to mention here that the primary function of the Law Commission is to identify the laws which have become obsolete and redundant over a period of time and need to be repealed, amended or updated.
Among other things, the Commission has to suggest measures for elimination of delays, speedy clearance of arrears and reduction in costs so as to secure quick and economical disposal of cases and recommendation is aimed at achieving these objectives.