Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Function 7 days in a month in city: HC to CAT

Function 7 days in a month in city: HC to CAT

NAGPUR: In a big relief to lawyers and litigants fighting cases related to Union government's jobs, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Monday directed the Central Administrative Tribunal's (CAT) registry to continue its interim order of sitting for a week in Nagpur at least once in a month.

A division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Arun Upadhye also asked the centre to take decision on petitioner's representation of demanding permanent CAT bench in the city, having jurisdiction of Khandesh, Vidarbha and Central India, within six weeks.

Before disposing off the PIL by CAT Bar Association at Nagpur and its secretary Anil Bambal through counsels — Mohan and Akshay Sudame, the court granted liberty to the petitioners to re-approach if directives were not complied with by the respondents.

CAT was established on October 2, 1985, with a view to resolve disputes of central government employees at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Allahabad. Later it was expanded to 33 benches while circuit sittings are conducted in other major cities.

These sittings were initially held at alternate months in the city, but later its periodicity was reduced and quarterly sitting was held to adjudicate the cases. Subsequently, even those were discontinued and there was no sitting from April to December in 2014.

The petitioners contended that on account of irregular sittings, pendency of cases jumped from 337 in 2007 to 641 by the end of 2014. On an average, about 250-300 cases are filed at Nagpur every year. Due to irregular sittings of CAT bench, the pendency of cases has jumped.

Explaining the plight of people from Vidarbha, who had to travel 850 kms to Mumbai for their cases due to irregular CAT sittings, the petitioners argued that not all could afford frequent travel, especially the class-III and IV staffers.

The usual practice is that if an interim order is granted, matter is fixed immediately after 15 days for their speedy disposal such as transfer. Though a large number of cases is pending before the tribunal for last several years, the circuit sitting is being held only for a week in two months.

They pointed out that since large number of the central offices is operating in the city recruiting thousands of employees, it is perfect place to establish the permanent CAT bench. They included — Income Tax, Central Excise and Customs, Accountant General, Geological Survey of India, Indian Bureau of Mines, Metrological Department, Railways, Department of Posts, Director of Accounts (Posts), Archaeological Survey of India, Central Public Works Department, Survey of India, Central Government Health Scheme, Mines Safety Department and several others.


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