Govt okays amendment in Administrative Tribunals Act

An official amendment aimed at keeping the minimum eligibility for chairmanship of CAT has been approved by the government.

New Delhi: An official amendment aimed at keeping the minimum eligibility for chairmanship of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has been approved by the government.

The amendment will replace a clause in a bill, already before Lok Sabha, that provides for appointment of sitting or retired Supreme Court judges and high court chief justices as chairman of CAT.

The official amendment in the Administrative Tribunals (Amendment) Bill, 2012, was approved by the Cabinet on Thursday, official sources said.

The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on April 27, 2012 by Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, V Narayanasamy. In May last year, it was referred to a Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice.

The Committee led by Congress` Rajya Sabha MP from Goa Shantaram Naik had submitted its report on December 17, 2012.

The bill, which seeks to amend the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985, also proposed to give power of transfer of a case to other tribunals by a member of the body as it would facilitate speedy disposal of cases.

At present, the power to transfer a pending case from one bench to another bench vests with the chairman of the tribunal only.

The CAT is entrusted with responsibility of resolving service matters of central and state government employees. The Principal Bench of CAT is located in Delhi and 16 benches are in other parts of the country wherever the seat of a high court is located in addition to 33 division benches.

The bill seeks that Chief Justice of India shall be consulted for the appointment of the chairman and the members of the state and joint administrative tribunals.

Under the Act, the CJI is consulted only in case of the appointment of the chairman and members of the central tribunal.

In case of the state tribunals and Joint Administrative Tribunals, the chairman and members are appointed by the President in consultation with the governor of the state concerned.

The bill also provides for reappointment of chairman and members for a fresh tenure provided the total tenure does not increase five years (for chairman) and 10 years (for members).

At present, the chairman has a fixed tenure of five years and for members it is 10 years or until they attain the age of 68 years and 65 years respectively.


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