FSSAI An Independent Authority And CAT Has No Jurisdiction Over It: CAT Principal Bench[Read Order]

FSSAI An Independent Authority And CAT Has No Jurisdiction Over It: CAT Principal Bench[Read Order]

Principal Bench of Central Administrative Tribunal dismissed an Original Application against Food Safety & Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) over jurisdictional issues. It said that FSSAI is an Independent Statutory Authority and unless a specific Notification is issued by the Central Government conferring jurisdiction on the Tribunal over the said Authority, no OA against the said authority is maintainable before the Tribunal.

Application against Food Safety & Standard Authority of India was filed by Dinesh Kumar Singh, a contractual Consultant (Onsite Manager) with FSSAI, wherein he had asked the Tribunal for direction to respondent(s) to declare post of Consultant (Onsite Manager) same as IT Assistant and for declaration of selection process of applicant in 2016 as per due process of law with applicant not required to undergo selection process under the advertisement issued by FSSAI on 26th of March, 2019.

FSSAI, after following due procedure akin to the regular recruitment, had selected the applicant against an existing vacancy of Onsite Manager, however, instead of appointing him on regular basis, had engaged him as a Consultant (Onsite Manager) on contract basis.

But when the FSSAI, instead of absorbing the applicant as a permanent employee on regular basis against the post of Onsite Manager or any equivalent post, issued the impugned Advertisement No.DR-02/2009 dated 26.03.2019 inviting applications on direct recruitment basis for various posts including to the post of IT Assistant (Pay Level 7), which is equivalent to Onsite Manager, applicant filed the instant OA aggrieved with the said action.

Tribunal accepted the contention of the Counsel for FSSAI that Tribunal (CAT) has no jurisdiction over the FSSAI as the same was an Autonomous and Independent Statutory Authority and not notified under Section 14 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985. It rejected the contention of counsel for the applicant that though the FSSAI is a statutory authority, but the same was under the administrative control of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Government of India, first respondent in the application, and hence, the Tribunal had jurisdiction over the same.

Tribunal held that a bare perusal of Section 14 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 clearly supports the contention of the counsel for FSSAI and once, it is admitted that FSSAI is an Independent Statutory Authority, unless a specific Notification is issued by the Central Government conferring jurisdiction on the Tribunal on the said Authority, no OA against the said authority is maintainable before the Tribunal. Stating the same ground, Tribunal held that it cannot entertain the OA against the FSSAI and cannot issue any directions, as it has no jurisdiction over the same.

However, the order read that nothing would preclude the applicant from approaching a competent court of law for redressal of his grievances.

Read the Order Here