Srinagar: Extending gratitude to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for conceding his party’s demand, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, President Apni Party on Thursday said the establishment of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) Bench in Srinagar in addition to one existing in Jammu will now address the grievances of thousands of employees in the region.
Recalling his series of meetings with the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the Lt. Governor of J&K from time to time, Bukhari said that Apni Party did not only demanded establishment of separate CAT Benches in both the divisions of J&K through its memorandums submitted to the government but also pursued it vigorously till its logical conclusion. “Since early 2020 we had agitated shifting of over 30,000 service matters from J&K High Court to CAT Bench Jammu. The employees of Kashmir valley could not afford to visit and stay in Jammu to pursue adjudication of their service related grievances. So they needed a separate circuit bench in Srinagar in view of tough terrain and harsh climatic conditions of the region which now fortunately has been fulfilled,” he remarked.
He said that Apni Party had appreciated the establishment of the CAT bench in Jammu but had given voice to the genuine grievances of thousands of Kashmir based low paid employees who were not in a position to pursue their service matters far from their homes, a party handout said. “In Kashmir division a huge chunk of service matters belonged to daily wagers, casual labourers, consolidated workers, ITI and skilled workers, contractual and ad hoc appointees, Class IV besides other low paid employees who could hardly afford the litigation costs, fee for lawyers, and travel and stay expenditures if their petitions were to be heard by CAT bench Jammu,” he observed.
Bukhari thanked the Prime Minister Modi for approving the proposal of setting up of the exclusive CAT bench for the Kashmir based employees in Srinagar that will prove 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.
“The Union Government deserves accolades for the reason that this is for the first time that a Union Territory in the country has been granted two separate CAT Benches to address the issues of employees,” he remarked.He said that earlier it was on the pursuance of Apni Party that the service matters of J&K employees were kept outside the ambit of CAT bench Chandigarh and the same were assigned to the Circuit Bench Jammu for their disposal. Bukhari said that by establishing two separate wings of CAT in twin capitals of J&K, justice will now 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.