Union minister Jitendra Singh on Saturday said the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) achieved a disposal rate of around 91 per cent in three years from 2015 to 2019 and there continues to be a steady rise in the disposal of cases
The disposal rate was around 89 per cent from 2010 to 2014, during the UPA regime, said Singh, at his meeting with newly-appointed Chairman of CAT Justice Ranjit Vasantrao More here. More called on Singh and discussed the modalities to achieve almost zero pendency of cases as mandated by the Prime Minister.
The minister further referred to clarification by Justice L Narasimha Reddy, former CAT Chairman, that the Tribunal recorded the disposal rate of 104 per cent in 2020 despite the appointment of members being delayed on account of the pendency of a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court.
Singh informed that despite the crippling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, CAT benches tried their best to dispose of cases through online mechanisms.
During the pandemic situation in 2020 and 2021, a total of 55,567 cases were instituted, said the Minister. “Despite the adverse situation, about 30,011 cases were disposed of, with a disposal percentage of 54.”
“In 2021 the disposal rate was 58.6 per cent and this was despite the fact that around 18,845 old pending cases of Jammu and Kashmir High Court were transferred to the Jammu Bench of CAT,” said Singh.
On measures to strengthen CAT, Singh informed that as of date, recommendations of the Search-cum-Selection Committee (SCSC) have been received in respect of 33 members and a proposal in respect of 33 members, CAT has been submitted for seeking the approval of the Competent Authority.
The Minister said that in the last week of July this year, foundation stones of the construction of Court-cum-office building of the Guwahati Bench of Central Administrative Tribunal and Lucknow Bench of CAT are steps towards this direction.
Singh also recalled that after the conversion of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, two benches of CAT were established, at Jammu and Srinagar vide notification dated May 28, 2020, for the service matters of employees of Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Jammu Bench was made functional with effect from June 8, 2020, whereas Srinagar Bench was inaugurated by the Minister himself on November 23, 2021.
Administrative Tribunal (CAT) was constituted on November 1, 1985, under the ‘Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985’ for adjudication of grievances and disputes arising out of the conditions of service of an employee appointed to the public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union. CAT has 19 regular Benches, 17 of which operate at the principal seats of High Courts and the remaining two at Jaipur and Lucknow.
CAT has a sanctioned strength of 70 Members including the Chairman (35 Judicial and 35 Administrative). As per the Tribunal Rules, 2021, Chairman can be either Judicial Member or Administrative Member. At present, the Chairman, of CAT is from the Judicial Stream.
Selection of Members in CAT could not be done earlier due to various ongoing court cases in Supreme Court/ High Courts challenging the act/ rules governing the appointment of Members of Tribunals. Hence, the selection process could be initiated only after notification of the Tribunal Reforms Act, 2021 and the Rules made there-under.
Out of 19 Benches, nine have been working from their own buildings and seven from the space provided by the CPWD in GPOA and three in rented buildings.
The building for the Jabalpur Bench was completed last year and the Bench has shifted to its new building with effect from June 26, 2021. During the Financial Year 2022-23, a fund of Rs 25 crore has been allocated to CAT for the construction of buildings for its benches at Lucknow and Guwahati.