Establishment of CAT Bench Srinagar: DB for expeditious removal of all encumbrances on Admn side

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STATE TIMES NEWS

JAMMU: A Division Bench of J&K High Court comprising Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul hoped that all difficulties/ encumbrances that may be there, on administrative side, in process of establishment of Bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) at Srinagar will be removed as expeditiously as possible keeping in view difficulties being faced by litigants belonging to the Kashmir region in pursuing their cases before the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jammu Bench.
Division Bench, while dismissing appeal filed by Abdul Qayoom Chalkoo, observed that we feel that we must be failing in our duty in case we do not take note of grievance projected by Senior Counsel, qua the non-availability of the Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal at Srinagar which, as per the learned Senior Counsel, tantamount to denial of justice to litigants belonging to the Kashmir region in view of judgment rendered by the Supreme Court in Rojer Mathew’s case (supra). In this connection, it, needs, must be said that the Central Government has already issued notification under Sub-Section 7 of Section 5 of Act of 1985 way back on May 28, 2020, specifying Jammu and Srinagar as the places at which Benches of the Central Administrative Tribunal shall ordinarily sit for the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh and, in pursuance thereof, the Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal started holding sittings at Jammu from June 8, 2020, hearing cases not only pertaining to litigants of Jammu, but also the ones belonging to Kashmir as well as Ladakh region for time being. This arrangement of hearing of the cases pertaining to the litigants of Kashmir region, as would come to limelight from the stand taken by both the Central Administrative Tribunal as well as the Government of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, is temporary in nature and proposal to establish a permanent Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal at Srinagar in under active consideration of the authorities concerned. Besides, during the course of arguments, both learned Advocate General as well as the Senior Central Government Standing Counsel has indicated that reasons for the delay in the establishment of the Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal at Srinagar are purely administrative in nature, with respect to which the Court cannot issue any specific direction(s) to the concerned authorities. More so, when the Apex Court in Rojer Mathew’s case supra, has already observed that having Tribunals without Benches in at least capitals of States and Union Territories amounts to denial of justice to citizens of those States and Union Territories which makes the entire justice delivery system very metropolis centric having many adverse effects. In this context, this Court can only hope and trust that all the difficulties/ encumbrances that may be there, on administrative side, in the process of establishment of the Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal at Srinagar will be removed as expeditiously as possible keeping in view the difficulties being faced by the litigants belonging to Kashmir region in pursuing their cases before the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jammu Bench.

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