New Delhi. The All India Conference of Central Administrative Tribunal got underway with inauguration by the Chief Justice of India Sh. K.G. Balakrishnan today. In his keynote address, Justice Balakrishnan expressed satisfaction that most of the Benches of the CAT have progressively improved their disposal in recent years. Some regional benches have disposed off a higher number of cases than the numbers instituted before them. He further said that even in the light of the L. Chandra Kumar decision, it is desirable to continue with the administrative tribunals, despite the power of the High Courts to scrutinize their decisions. It must be noted that an overwhelming majority of the decisions given by the benches of the CAT are upheld by the respective high Courts. Also, these tribunals are more accessible top litigants, both in terms of lower costs and absence of complex procedures, he felt.
The Minister of Law & Justice, Dr. M. Veerappa Moily in his speech said that the Government is formalizing the policy of Government litigation. Our efforts are that the Government should go in litigation only where it is necessary. Unnecessary appeals should not be filed on behalf of the Government. The government is to be transformed from a compulsive litigant into a responsible and reluctant litigant. Access to quick and quality justice must be the focal point. The Minister said that the present system viz. ‘let the tribunal decide every case’ must be eliminated. Tribunal members who perform efficiently should be granted recognition for the same, he said.
The Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Sh. Prithviraj Chavan, in his remarks said that so far we have brought 191 organisations within the ambit of the CAT. Naturally, more Government employees would be in a position to get speedy justice for their grievances. If we can fulfil the infrastructure needs of CAT, even the PSUs and the Public Sector Banking institutions could be covered. Refering to the Report of the Law Commission, titled “L. Chandrakumar be revisited by a larger Bench of the Supreme Court”, he said, the matter has been discussed with the Chairman CAT and the Report is currently under active consideration of the Government. We will have to find ways which will help us to protect the original objective with which the Administrative Tribunals were conceived, he added. Sh. Chavan expressed satisfaction that since its inception, CAT has handled about 5.32 lakh cases. Out of which only about 23,000 are pending. On behalf of the Government, he assured that there will be a constant support for all the activities of the CAT. We have taken steps to fill up the vacancies in the CAT as soon as they arise. In fact, ever since the Act got amended, we have been able to fill up about 47 vacancies. We will support construction of modern office space wherever land available. CAT is already making good use of Information Technology. We will support further upgradation.
Chairman Principal Bench CAT, Justice V.K. Bali in his remarks said tahtdisposal at the principal bench was 110 percent as copared to the institution in the year 2008. We have decided it as a matter of policy that life of no case in the tribunal in any part of the country would be more than six months. On an average, 91% of cases of the principal bench have been upheld in the wqrit petitions in Delhi High Court, he added.
The Tribunal to have its own buildings as High Court complexes all over the country, financial independence of the to the Tribunal, powers of the chairman for framing rules for employees of the tribunal, ways and means to further reduce pendency of cases in the Tribunal are some of the proposals which the Conference would deliberate.