Exploring the Jurisdiction of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) is a quasi-judicial body in India that adjudges disputes and complaints relating to service matters of central government employees. It was established under Article 323A of the Indian Constitution in 1985 to provide speedy and inexpensive justice to central government employees.
The jurisdiction of the CAT is broad and includes all service matters pertaining to central government employees, including:
- Recruitment and appointment
- Promotion and transfer
- Pay and allowances
- Disciplinary matters
- Pensions and gratuities
The CAT also has the jurisdiction to hear appeals against decisions made by other tribunals or authorities, such as the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
The CAT has a Principal Bench in New Delhi and 18 Regional Benches located in different parts of the country. Each Bench is headed by a Chairman, who is a retired judge of the High Court or Supreme Court. The other members of the Bench are either retired civil servants or judicial officers.
The CAT follows a quasi-judicial procedure, which is similar to the procedure followed by civil courts. However, the CAT is not bound by the strict rules of evidence and can admit evidence that would not be admissible in a civil court.
The CAT has the power to make any order that it deems fit, including orders to:
- Set aside, quash, or reverse any decision made by the government or other authority
- Direct the government or other authority to do or refrain from doing anything
- Grant compensation to any person who has been affected by a decision of the government or other authority
The orders of the CAT are binding on the government and other authorities. They can be appealed to the High Court or Supreme Court, but only on questions of law.
Here are some of the benefits of having the CAT:
- Speedy justice: The CAT is designed to provide speedy justice to central government employees. Cases are typically heard and decided within a few months.
- Inexpensive justice: The CAT is a low-cost forum for resolving service disputes. There are no court fees,and parties are not required to hire lawyers.
- Expert tribunal: The CAT is composed of experts in service matters. This ensures that cases are heard and decided by people who have a deep understanding of the issues involved.
Overall, the CAT plays an important role in protecting the rights of central government employees. It provides them with a fair and impartial forum for resolving service disputes.