SRINAGAR: As Centre’s decision to extend the jurisdiction of Chandigarh branch of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) over J&K had evoked strong reactions, the Union Government on Thursday announced to set up separate CAT bench for the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.
The 18th bench of the CAT – named Jammu Bench – would have jurisdiction over UTs of J&K and Ladakh.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (7) of section 5 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 (13 of 1985), the Central Government hereby specifies Jammu and Srinagar as the places at which the benches of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) shall ordinarily sit for the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union territory of Ladakh,” read the notification issued by Rashmi Choudhary, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, this afternoon.
It was also mentioned in the notification, “Some amendments have been made in the notification of the Government of India in the erstwhile Ministry of Personnel and Training, Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances and Pensions vide number G.S.R. 610(E), dated the 26th July, 1985. As per amendments, jurisdiction of the Chandigarh Bench of the CAT would be State of Haryana, State of Himachal Pradesh, State of Punjab and UT of Chandigarh.”
The Centre had on April 29 extended the jurisdiction of CAT’s Chandigarh bench over the J&K and Ladakh UTs.
However, political parties and lawyers’ bodies said it would hamper access to justice for the employees of the UT, following which the Centre on May 1 clarified that no petitioner or lawyer would need to go to Chandigarh as such matters would be heard by the CAT bench in J&K itself.
The government also mentioned that CAT Chandigarh bench used to hold its sittings in J&K to dispose of service matters related to Central Government employees.
But with Chief Justice of J&K High Court Gita Mittal writing to Union Minister of State Jitendra Singh for establishing of an administrative tribunal with multiple benches and permanent seats in Jammu and Srinagar on May 16, the Centre came up with the new notification on Thursday.