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Establish Uttar Pradesh Educational Services Tribunal Only After Court's Permission : Allahabad High Court

Akshita Saxena
3 March 2021 9:36 AM GMT
Establish Uttar Pradesh Educational Services Tribunal Only After Courts Permission : Allahabad High Court
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The Allahabad High Court has ordered that its permission is needed before establishing the Uttar Pradesh Education Services Tribunal, which is the subject matter of an ongoing lawyers strike.In a suo moto case registered by the Court following conflict between the Allahabad High Court Bar Association and the Awadh Bar Association with respect to the location of Tribunal's principal seat,...

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The Allahabad High Court has ordered that its permission is needed before establishing the Uttar Pradesh Education Services Tribunal, which is the subject matter of an ongoing lawyers strike.

In a suo moto case registered by the Court following conflict between the Allahabad High Court Bar Association and the Awadh Bar Association with respect to the location of Tribunal's principal seat, a Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery said, 

"The Legislature may complete the process of enacting the Act of 2021, if so desires, but, shall establish Educational Tribunals as proposed only after the leave of this Court."

The Government is also requested to invite representatives of the Bar Associations of the Allahabad High Court at Prayagraj as well as at Lucknow to have deliberations with regard to their demands which are being agitated by different demand charters.

Meanwhile, the Bench has ordered ordered for constitution of special Benches, both at the principal seat in Allahabad and at the Lucknow Bench, for adjudicating upon the pending cases.

On a perusal of past 20 years' records, the Division Bench found that at Allahabad, 1,88,632 cases related to service matters of teaching and non-teaching staff of aided institutions were instituted and, out of that, pendency is only 33,290. Similarly, at Lucknow, 55,913 matters were instituted and 15,003 cases are pending.

In this backdrop, it opined,

"On going through the statistics available, we are of the view that the pendency of the service matters in question can be effectively reduced by constituting special bench/benches for the purpose. However, for smooth functioning of such benches, the prime requirement is participation of Advocates in proceedings."

It added,

"The Chief Justice, Allahabad High Court be requested to constitute appropriate dedicated Benches at Allahabad as well as at Lucknow for expeditious disposal of service matters related to teaching and non-teaching staff of aided institutions."

The Bench also took exception to the Associations' call for strike over the matter. It said,

"By the absentation from judicial work, valuable judicial time has been criminally wasted and that has effected judicial working of Allahabad High Court for other important jurisdictions also. The largest High Court of the country cannot afford such non-functionality of Courts on any count."

Background

The Allahabad High Court Bar Association and the Awadh Bar Association have been in a tussle ever since the Government's proposal to establish an Education Services Tribunal in the State.

The dispute is as to whether the Tribunal should be established at Prayagraj, i.e. where the Principal Seat of the High Court is situated or at Lucknow, the city that was initially proposed by the State Government in 2019.

The Uttar Pradesh Education Service Tribunal Bill, 2021 that was tabled in the state Assembly in February this year proposes to constitute two benches of the Tribunal in Lucknow and Allahabad (now known as Prayagraj).

Both the Bar Associations have been opposing the Bill, by resorting to strike, for different reasons- While HCBA, Allahabad is opposing the Bill as the Bill proposes to establish Tribunal's Principal Bench in Lucknow, on the other hand, the Awadh Bar Association is miffed over the bifurcation of the Tribunal at two places.

Findings

The High Court took suo moto cognizance of the controversy after both the Associations resorted to strike, bringing the functioning of the Court to a halt.

At the outset, the High Court noted that the number of service matters which are to be adjudicated by the proposed Tribunal is not too much.

It also expressed strong displeasure at the call for strike in the following words:

"The proposed enactment is meant with an object for expeditious disposal of service matters but the absentation of lawyers from judicial proceedings is causing serious injury to the disposal of such cases by the present judicial forum."

The Bench refrained from making remarks over the tussle between the two Associations with respect to establishment of the GST Appellate Tribunal. It said,

"It is brought to our notice that the issue with regard to establishment of Goods and Services Tax (GST) Tribunals is under consideration of this Court in a writ petition filed at Lucknow, hence, we do not consider it appropriate to pass any order in that regard in this petition for writ."

About the 2021 Bill

The Uttar Pradesh Service Tribunal Bill, 2021 proposes establishment of a tribunal for expeditious disposal of service cases relating to teaching and non-teaching staff of the Educational Institutions receiving aid under the UP State Universities Act, 1973.

As per the proposed enactment, Headquarter of the Tribunal shall be at Lucknow with a bench at Prayagraj.

The Tribunal proposed to be constituted shall be having a Chairman to be appointed as per the procedure given.

The Chairman shall be having a discretion to determine the days of sitting of the Tribunal at Lucknow as well as at Prayagraj for adjudication of the cases coming before it.

Case Title: In Re Constitution Of Education Tribunals

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