The annual All India Conference of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) was held in New Delhi, today. The one day conference was attended by Judicial and Administrative Members from all 17 Benches of CAT from across the country, members of the CAT Bar Association and eminent Jurists, who deliberated on key issues related to the functioning of the Tribunal and priorities for 2020.The Judicial and Administrative Members of CAT deliberated in two technical sessions on issues related to the work of CAT, including structural and institutional issues, the functioning of administrative tribunals in other legal systems and methodology for the functioning of the tribunal. The sessions also deliberated on the identification of measures to improve the quality of adjudication and rate of disposal, service condition of members and infrastructural aspect of the Tribunal’s Benches.The Conference was presided over by Union Minister for Law and Justice, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad. In his address, Shri Prasad congratulated Justice L. Narismha Reddy, Chairman CAT, and his team for bringing about a significant improvement in disposal of cases despite shortage of members in the Tribunal. He welcomed the role which the CAT has played in the evolution of service jurisprudence in the country, in the light of its various milestone judgments. He emphasized on the need for an in-house judicial impact assessment by CAT and on the importance of training in service jurisprudence. The Minister also advised that judicial learning is also very important since the law is in the realm of ambiguity. He highlighted the importance of laying down judgments on service jurisprudence with greater clarity, in view of the government’s commitment towards greater transparency in governance. He assured the help of the IT Department and use of artificial intelligence in the functioning of the Tribunal.
Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region (I/C), Prime Minister’s Office, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh was the Guest of Honour on the occasion. He emphasized Prime Minister’s commitment towards ‘maximum governance, minimum government’, and the principle of “perform, reform, and transform.” In this direction, significant efforts have been made to bring about improvements in various aspects of service conditions. He reiterated that CAT has been an essential organ of the government towards the achievement of a complaints-free delivery system in the last few years, and that significant changes have been made in the Prevention of Corruption Act and other service matters.Dr. Singh said that in view of a shortage of members, the process appointing more members is underway to ease the working of the Tribunal. He congratulated the Tribunal on the fact that despite the acute shortage, it has achieved a target of more than 104%. The Minister also mentioned the necessity of CAT Benches at Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. In this regard, he had a discussion with Justice Reddy and it has been resolved that for the time being, Jurisdictional Benches will entertain service cases for Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.Chief Guest for the event, Justice N.V. Ramana, Judge, Supreme Court of India talked about service conditions of members of the Tribunal and also emphasized that the tenure should be of adequate length. He indicated that service matter litigation has significantly increased of late with the result that there are currently about 50,000 cases in CAT. He emhasized that judgment should be precise and concise, bringing about clarity and reasoning.Special Guest on the occasion, Justice Dhirubhai Naranbhai Patel, Chief Justice, High Court of Delhi emphasised the importance of giving a patient hearing to litigants and counsels. He said judicial orders should take into account facts, concerned laws, and decisions given earlier. Various suggestions made by the Members in the technical sessions will be taken forward in the coming days by CAT, in coordination with the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT).