[Solved] The Central Administration 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. ( UPSC GS-2 Mains 2019)

Central Administration Tribunal: ‘Tribunal ‘is an administrative body established for the purpose of discharging quasi-judicial duties. An Administrative Tribunal is neither a Court nor an executive body. It stands somewhere midway between a Court and an administrative body.

The Central Administrative Tribunal had been established under Article 323 – A of the Constitution (by 42nd constitution amendment act 1976) for adjudication 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 other authorities under the control of the Government. Under the provisions of this article, administrative tribunals act, 1985 was enacted.

 • Article 323-A, which came by way of 42nd constitutional amendment in 1976, enabled the Centre to enact The Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 for setting-up the Tribunals for adjudication over “disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons”.

 Thus Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 provides for the establishment of Central Administrative Tribunal and State Administrative Tribunals. The delay in justice administration is one of the biggest obstacles which have been tackled with the establishment of Tribunals.

 Composition:

 • The CAT is a multi-member body consisting of a Chairman and members.

 • With the amendment in Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 in 2006, the members have been given the status of judges of High Courts

 • In 2013, the sanctioned strength of the Chairman is one and sanctioned strength of the Members is 65

 • They are drawn from both judicial and administrative streams and are appointed by the President.

 • They hold office for a term office years or until they attain the age of 65 years, in case of Chairman and 62 years in case of members, whichever is earlier.

Independence:

 • The Administrative Tribunal is distinguishable from the ordinary courts with regard to its jurisdiction and procedure.

 • It exercises jurisdiction only in relation to the service matters of the parties covered by the Act.

 • It is also free from the shackles of many of the technicalities of the ordinary Courts.

 • The procedural simplicity of the Act can be appreciated from the fact that an aggrieved government employee can also appear personally before the Tribunal.

 • The Tribunal is guided by the principles of natural justice in deciding cases and is not bound by the procedure, prescribed by the Civil Procedure Code.

Specific powers of Central Administrative tribunal:

1. Central Administration Tribunal exercises original jurisdiction in relation to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services.

2. Flexibility: Administrative Tribunals created under Article 323A have been freed from technical rules of Indian Evidence Act, 1872 and procedural shackles of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 but, at the same time, they have been vested with the powers of Civil Court in respect of some matters including the review of their own decisions and are bound by the principle of natural justice.

 3. Relief to Courts: The system also gives the much-needed relief to ordinary courts of law, which are already overburdened with numerous suits. Initially the decision of Tribunal can be challenged only before Supreme courts by filing Special leave petition, however after Chandra Kumar case; the orders of CAT are now being challenged by way of writ petition u/a 226/227 of the

 Constitution before respective High courts. It lay down that appeals against the orders of the CAT shall lie before the division bench of the concerned High Court.

Over a period of time central administrative tribunal has gradually evolved into an independent judicial authority.

 1. The Central Administrative Tribunal is empowered to frame its own rules of procedure and practice.

 Under the said provision of the Act, the Central Administrative Tribunal (Procedure) Rules, 1987 and Central Administrative Tribunal Rules of Practice, 1993 have been notified to ensure smooth functioning of the Tribunal.

 2. The Tribunal has been conferred with the power to exercise the same jurisdiction and authority in respect of contempt of itself as a High Court.

3. Delhi High Court has said it does not have the jurisdiction to entertain criminal contempt reference received from the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) and remitted back the matter to the tribunal. It said the CAT has exclusive jurisdiction to entertain such contempt proceedings.

 4. Central Administration Tribunalis acting against the decisions of the constitutional bodies like state public service commission. Eg: CAT reversed the decision of Karnataka Public Services Commission 5. The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has, in an extraordinary move, taken a swipe at Delhi high court for directing it to swiftly decide a matter that was originally pending before the tribunal.

Central Administration Tribunal 

In its order, the tribunal indicated that such an order was “unwarranted” and against dignity of the judicial process and judicial functionaries.

 However, it still suffers from few limitations compared to judiciary.

 1. No complete autonomy:

 Initially the decision of the Tribunal could be challenged before Honʼble Supreme Court by filing Special Leave Petition.

 However, after the Supreme Courtʼs decision in L. Chandra Kumarʼs case, the orders of Central Administrative Tribunal are now being challenged by way of Writ Petition under Article 226/227 of the Constitution before respective High Court in whose territorial jurisdiction the Bench of the Tribunal is situated.

 2. Tribunal members do not enjoy powers like judges who hold constitutional posts.

 3. Functioning of Administrative tribunals suffer from lack of autonomy especially in terms of appointment and funding Administrative tribunals.

 In the interest of better justice delivery, their traditional structures and methods of functioning can be reformed. Increasing the number of judges, filling the existing vacancy, use of technology to bring efficiency in administration of justice can be the way forward.

Conclusion:

 The above powers of CAT show that in certain spheres like recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services and cases related to civil service rule where supreme Court refrain itself and denied accepting the cases so that purpose of CAT could not get defeated shows that they are exercising their power as an independent Judicial Authority as judgments are more circumstances based and situational. For example NATIONAL GREEN TRIBUNAL. However, in India Common

 Law System is followed in which a benchmark is set and final interpretation is subjected to Independent judicial system also Central Administration Tribunal Functions on the principle of Natural Justice as they are not bound by the Rule of Procedures. Thus, after Chandra Kumar case it can be entertain by the High court & Supreme Court therefore on this basis we cannot accept that they work as a independent judiciary.

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