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Litigants Facing Difficulties In Absence Of Central Administrative Tribunal Bench At Srinagar: J&K High Court

Sparsh Upadhyay
2 Jan 2021 11:53 AM GMT
Litigants Facing Difficulties In Absence Of Central Administrative Tribunal Bench At Srinagar: J&K High Court
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Underlining the difficulties faced by the litigants of the Kashmir region in pursuing their cases before the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jammu Bench, the Jammu & Kashmir High Court on Thursday (31st December) hoped that difficulties in the process of establishment of the Bench of the CAT at Srinagar are removed "as expeditiously as possible." The Bench of Justice Vinod...

Underlining the difficulties faced by the litigants of the Kashmir region in pursuing their cases before the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jammu Bench, the Jammu & Kashmir High Court on Thursday (31st December) hoped that difficulties in the process of establishment of the Bench of the CAT at Srinagar are removed "as expeditiously as possible."

The Bench of Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey said,

"This Court can only hope and trust that all the difficulties/encumbrances that may be there, on administrative side, in the process of establishment of the Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal at Srinagar are removed as expeditiously as possible keeping in view the difficulties being faced by the litigants belonging to the Kashmir region in pursuing their cases before the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jammu Bench."

The matter before the Court

The Bench of Justices Koul & Magrey made this observation while dismissing an appeal filed against a single Bench order, which had transferred a service matter to the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jammu Bench.

It was argued in the appeal filed before the Division Bench of Justices Koul & Magrey that the Single Judge, while rendering the impugned judgment, erred in law in not appreciating that access to justice is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

Importantly, it was argued that the non-availability of the Bench of the CAT at Srinagar, despite notification issued under Sub-Section 5 of Section 7 of the Act of 1985, way back in May, 2020 is equal to denial of access to justice in view of the judgment rendered by the Apex Court in Rojer Mathew V. South Indian Bank Ltd. & Ors. (2020) 6 SCC 1.

[NOTE: In Rojer Mathew case, the Apex Court had held that having Tribunals without Benches in at least the capitals of States and Union Territories amounts to denial of justice to citizens of those States and Union Territories which makes the entire justice delivery system very metropolis centric having many adverse effects.]

Central & U&T Government Submission

On the other hand, the Centre submitted before the Division Bench that the Central Administrative Tribunal, New Delhi, is conscious of the fact that since there is a permanent Bench of the Tribunal that has been established in Jammu, there is a need to establish a Circuit/ Permanent Bench in Srinagar as well and a proposal, in this behalf has already been submitted to the concerned authority(ies), which Bench would hear the matters pertaining to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal arising at Srinagar.

Besides, Advocate General submitted before the Bench that the Government of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is conscious of the fact that there is a dire need of constituting two separate Benches of the Tribunal, one each at Srinagar and Jammu for adjudication of the service matters of the employees of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh.

It was also submitted that the Government has already taken up the matter with the Central Government for the purpose of establishment of two separate Benches of the Tribunal, one each at Srinagar and Jammu.

Case title - Abdul Qayoom Chalkoo v. Union Territory of JK & Ors. [LPA No.123/2020 CM No.4168/2020]

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