Establish separate CAT bench at Srinagar: Altaf Bukhari

Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) President Altaf Bukhari on Tuesday urged the Centre to establish a separate bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) at Srinagar to ensure justice with employees who cannot afford to visit Jammu to pursue adjudication of their service related grievances.

In a statement, Bukhari while appreciating the functioning of CAT bench in Jammu said the employees of Kashmir need a separate circuit bench in Srinagar in view of tough terrain and harsh climatic conditions of the region.

“The effective and speedy dispute resolution process with respect to recruitment and conditions of service matters of persons against the Union or other authorities under the control of the government demands an exclusive bench to be set up at Srinagar,” he said.

Bukhari expressed gratitude to the Union Home Ministry for accepting a public demand for keeping J&K out of the jurisdiction of Chandigarh Administrative Tribunal and establishing one circuit bench at Jammu.

However, he said that a single circuit bench for the entire J&K would prove insufficient to provide succour in service matters to the disputants of Kashmir who cannot afford to approach it in Jammu because of multiple factors.

“In Kashmir, a huge chunk of service matters belong to daily wagers, casual labourers, consolidated workers, ITI and skilled workers, contractual and adhoc appointees, Class-IV employees besides other low paid employees who can hardly afford the litigation costs, fee for lawyers, and travel and stay expenditures if their litigations are shifted to CAT bench in Jammu,” he said.

Bukhari said by establishing two separate wings of CAT in twin capitals of J&K, justice will get speedier, cheaper and the litigants will have a choice to engage local lawyers and save their expenses on travel and stay besides the average time spent on following a hearing in their matters will be reduced substantially.

“The Home Ministry should take a call on this serious issue and order the establishment of a separate bench of the Tribunal in Srinagar with local sitting or retired judicial and administrative members so that the people of the division take a sigh of relief,” he said.