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HC Hopes CAT Bench Is Set Up ‘Expeditiously’ At Srinagar

By INS Desk , in Regional Srinagar , at December 31, 2020

Srinagar, Dec 31: Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday said that it can only hope and trust that a Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal at Srinagar is expeditiously established, keeping in view the “difficulties” being faced by the litigants belonging to the Kashmir region. Dismissing a petition against its single bench’s order related to the transfer of a service matter to CAT Jammu, a division bench of Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Vinod Chatterji Koul observed: “…we feel that we must be failing in our duty in case we do not take note of the 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, tantamounts to denial of justice to the litigants belonging to the Kashmir region in view of the judgment rendered by the Supreme Court.” In this connection, the court underlined that the Central Government has already issued notification “way back on 28th of May, 2020”, specifying Jammu and Srinagar as the places at which the Benches of the Central Administrative Tribunal shall ordinarily sit for J&K and Ladakh. A Bench of CAT started holding sittings at Jammu from June 8, hearing the cases not only pertaining to the litigants of Jammu, but also the ones belonging to Kashmir as well as Ladakh region for the 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 Jammu and Kashmir, is temporary in nature and the proposal to establish a permanent Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal at Srinagar in under active consideration of the authorities concerned,” the court observed. Besides, the court said, both the Advocate General as well as the Senior Central Government Standing Counsel have indicated that the reasons for the delay in the establishment of the Bench at Srinagar are purely administrative in nature, “with respect to which this Court cannot issue any specific direction(s) to the concerned authorities.” “ Moreso, when the Apex Court has already observed that having Tribunals without Benches in at least the 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,” the court said, adding, “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 are removed as expeditiously as possible keeping in view the difficulties being faced by the litigants belonging to the Kashmir region in pursuing their cases before the CAT, Jammu Bench.”

 

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