CAT Tribunal wants to be under Law ministry, HC issues notice to Centre

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday issued a notice of motion to the Centre while acting on a petition filed by the Central Administrative Tribunal Bar Association, Chandigarh, seeking directions to shift its functioning under the Union Ministry of Law and Justice.

The petition came up for hearing before a division bench comprising of Chief Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain. The bench issued the notice of motion for March 15.

The CAT Bar Association had sought directions to the Union of India through the Ministry of Law and Justice and Department of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, that in order to ensure the independence of CAT, the functioning of the said tribunal may be supervised by the Ministry of Law and Justice rather than being placed under the Department of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.

The court was apprised that the Administrative Tribunal Act-1985, nowhere grants power to the Department of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions to take over rule-making powers, functioning, appointments, infrastructure, manpower, financial or administrative support of the tribunal.

The CAT Bar Association also sought directions to respondents to ensure the processing of the appointment of members of the tribunal in a time-bound manner, especially in the case of the Chandigarh bench, which exercises jurisdiction over five states — Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir — and which has the heaviest workload in the country and the largest area under its jurisdiction.

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