December 8, 2021

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

CAT principal bench can’t be permitted to be usurper of power: Uttarakhand HC

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CAT principal bench can’t be permitted to be usurper of power: Uttarakhand HC
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CAT principal bench can’t be permitted to be usurper of power: Uttarakhand HC
CAT principal bench can’t be permitted to be usurper of power: Uttarakhand HC

NEW DELHI: The Uttarakhand High Court has ruled in favour of a forest officer who contested the decision to transfer his case to the principal bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in Delhi, from Nainital, where he is posted.
The HC rejected the Centre’s plea that the issues raised by the petitioner would have an impact “on the very functioning of the central government” and hence should be heard by the principal bench. The court said the Centre’s plea creates an impression that the principal bench is the superior bench; and further said that the principal bench cannot be “permitted to be usurper of the power”.
After listening to both sides, Uttarakhand Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan observed that while enacting the Administrative Tribunals Act, Parliament treated all 15 benches of the CAT alike. Even cases of nationwide repercussion, or having great impact on the functioning of the Central government can, indeed, be decided by other benches of the CAT, he said.
The order stated, “Such issues need not be relegated to the principal bench. Moreover, the impugned order tends to create an impression that somehow the principal bench is the superior bench to other benches of the CAT, which are functioning throughout the country. Since all the benches, including the principal bench, are equal, such a mis-impression cannot be made in the mind of the litigant. For, the principal bench cannot be allowed to robe itself with a superior authority which was never given to it by the Act. After all, the principalbench cannot be permitted to be usurper of the power.”
The court said the CAT principal bench’s order of December4, 2020, is legally “unsustainable”.
The petition was filed by Sanjeev Chaturvedi, an Indian Forest Service officer, in the Uttarakhand HC challenging the CAT principal bench’s order to transfer his petition from the Allahabad Bench (Nainital Circuit Bench) to the principal bench. The IFS officer has pleaded for direction and order from the CAT for quashing the present system of 360 degree appraisal for empanelment of officers at the level of joint secretary and above in Central government and to restrain the Union government from filling up the posts of joint secretary and above rank officers through contract system, which is also known as lateral entry.
This is the first such case by a serving bureaucrat against the government’s new norms. He has alleged that the new system is arbitrary, unreasonable, and in violation of principles of natural justice and supersession of statutory rules.
He has contended that if Parliament were of the opinion that issues of “national importance” need to be decided only by the principal bench, a provision would have existed in the law, debarring other benches from hearing such issues of “national importance”, or that have “nationwide repercussions”.
The HC also turned down the plea of the Central government that since all the relevant files and papers are in New Delhi, the case should be transferred to the national capital. The court called the Centre’s plea “rather fallacious” while observing that the Centre has sufficient means of shifting the files and these can even be transferred electronically.

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