Part XIV-A of the constitution provides for the tribunals. The provision was added through 42nd Amendment Act, 1976. Article 323A and 323B provide for Administrative Tribunals and Tribunals related to other matters respectively.
Under Article 323A, parliament is empowered to establish administrative tribunals for the adjudication of disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the union or of any state or of any local or other authority within the territory of India or under the control of the government of India or of any corporation owned or controlled by the government.
The Administrative Tribunals Act in 1985 enacted by the Parliament authorises the central government to establish central administrative tribunal and the state administrative tribunals.
Central Administrative Tribunals (CAT)
The principal bench of the Central Administrative Tribunals is located at Delhi. In addition to this, there are additional benches in different states. At present there are 17 regular benches and 4 circuit benches. The CAT exercises jurisdiction over all service matters concerning the following:
However, the members of the defence forces, officers, staff of the Supreme Court and the secretarial staff of the Parliament are not covered under the jurisdiction of CAT.
The CAT comprises of a chairman, vice- chairman and other members who are appointed by the President. The membership of CAT is filled by members from judicial and administrative fields. The term of the service is 5 years or until the age of 65 years for chairman and vice- chairmen and 62 years for members, whichever is earlier. The chairman, vice-chairman or any other member may address his resignation to the president in between his term of office.
Working of CAT
CAT is not bound by the procedure laid down in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but is guided by the principles of natural justice. A tribunal has the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. A person making an application to a tribunal may either appear in person or take the assistance of a legal practitioner.
The appeal against the orders of a tribunal could be made in High Court and not in Supreme Court.. The Supreme Court, in Chandra Kumar Case (1997), held that the appeal against the orders of a tribunal could not be made directly in the Supreme Court and an aggrieved person should first approach the concerned High Court.