Being court of first instance, CAT has jurisdiction to hear service matters of JK, Ladakh: HC

Being court of first instance, CAT has jurisdiction to hear service matters of JK, Ladakh: HC

J&K High has held that the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) being 'court of first instance' has the jurisdiction to hear service matters of the government employees of UTs of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

A bench of Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey while transferring a service matter to a bench of CAT in J&K held that grievance projected in the petition related to the subject covered by Section 14 of the Central Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985.

Underscoring that the jurisdiction to hear the petition was with CAT as a "court of first instance", the bench said in terms of section 29 of the Act, the case needed to be transferred to Tribunal having its place of sitting at Srinagar.

The Court, however, directed its Registrar Judicial to transmit the record of the petition to the Registrar CAT at Jammu as there was only one Bench of  Tribunal established so far which is holding its sitting  there.

Notably Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions (Department of Personnel and Training), New Delhi issued a notification on May 28 this year specifying Jammu and Srinagar as the places where the Benches of the CAT would ordinarily sit for the UTs of J&K and Ladakh.

Earlier on a separate petition the High Court had directed its Registrars (Judicial) at Srinagar and Jammu wings not to entertain any service matter of the UT or the central government employees.

"Under Article 323-A, the Central Administrative Tribunal Act, 1985 was established. Article 323- A (2) (d) excludes the jurisdiction of all Courts, except that of the Supreme Court under Article 136, with respect to the dispute or complaints referred to in clause (1)," the court had said.

The court had further observed that pursuant to the abrogation of Article 370 and formation of UTs of J&K and Ladakh in terms of the provisions of the J&K Reorganization Act, 2019, all service matters of the government employee(s) in the said UTs were required to be heard and considered only by the CAT from the date a notification was issued in this regard.

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