Indian Civil Service: Grievance Redressal Mechanism
A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteedOrder Now
The working of the good government is not only depends upon the good relation between government and its citizens but it also depends upon the relationship status between government and its employees.
May of times various attempts are made to maintain the cordial relation between the government and its employees. But despites the best efforts disputes may still arise between the government as an employer and its employees. If these disputes allowed to remain unsettled, it will lead to dissatisfaction among the employees which often result in inefficiency, low morale and sometimes even disruption of work in the form of agitation and strikes. To avoid these consequences it is very important for the government as an employer must provide some mechanism to settle this disputes and redressal of the grievances of its employees.
Therefore to maintain cordial relation between the government and its employee Parliament passed the Administrative Tribunal Act, 1985 and set up the Central and State Administrative Tribunals for its employees as mechanism for grievance redressal.
Need for the alternative machinery
Many times the disputes are arise between government as an employer and its employees and It results in the inefficiency, low morale and sometimes even disruption of work in the form of agitation and strikes.
These disputes can be of two types and they are as follows:
1. 1Disputes which are collective in nature i.e. they involve a large number of employees as a class or group, and they relate to their basic conditions of the service like salary or wages rates, hours of work, retirement or other benefits etc. such disputes are settled through machinery fir collective bargaining like Whitley Council, joint consolation machinery or arbitration.
2. 2Disputes involve individual employees, where an individual employee feels that injustice has been done to him because of denial of promotion or illegality in disciplinary proceedings against him or in matters of seniority etc. such disputes cannot be taken up through joint consultative machinery.
Normally an aggrieved employee, in such circumstances has remedy under the civil law of the land where he can seek the intervention of the court to get justice. But this procedure was very cumbersome, expensive and time consuming. May times this procedure was beyond capacity of most employees for the time it used to take and money that was required. It was inconvenient for the government department too which had to spend huge time and money to fighting the cases in the courts. Therefore the need for alternative machinery was strongly felt.
The need for alternative administrative was so strongly felt that Administrative Reform Commission had recommended the setting up of civil service tribunal act as an ombudsman or authority for looking into the of civil servants removal from service, reduction in rank and punishment of dismissal.
3Consequently the Constitution was amended in 1976 (42nd Amendment) to provide for the setting up of administrative Tribunals for adjudication of disputes in matters pertaining to recruitment and conditions of service for persons appointed to the public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the union, the state or local authority or government Corporation. To provide the fast and less or inexpensive justice to Central Government employer the parliament passed the Administrative Tribunal Act, 1985 which allowed the Central Government to form Central Administrative Tribunal (C.A.T.)in November of that year. Except those of the Supreme Court the C.A.T.(Central Administrative Tribunal) or the S.A.T.(State Administrative Tribunal) has the powers of jurisdiction and authority of all courts, for deciding cases concerning government employees. Several states like Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Orissa, Karnataka etc. have already set up these Tribunals. All courts, except Supreme Court, have been barred from the exerting any jurisdiction on matters mentioned in Articles 323 A and 323 B of the Constitution (relating to service matters of the employees).
The application of the Central Administrative Tribunals Act is to all the central government employees only with the following exception: members of the Army, Navy or Air Force or any other armed force of the central Government, officers employed in the Supreme Court or High Courts or Lower Courts; and employees of the Secretariat of the two Houses of the Parliament and of State Legislature.
THE ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNALS ACT, 1985
4It is an Act to provide for the adjudication or trial by Administrative Tribunals of disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of any State or of any local or other authority within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India or of (any corporation or society owned or controlled by the Government in pursuance of Article 323A of the Constitution) and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Article 323-A and 323-B
Among the many innovative provisions adopted by the Forty-second Amendment of the Constitution (1976) a measure of far-reaching importance was the provision for the setting up of Administrative Tribunals. Part XIV-A which consists of two Articles 323A and 323B deals with these Tribunals.
6Section (1) of Article 323-A provides for the adjudication or trial by administrative tribunals of disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of any State or of any local or other authority within the territory of India. The power to constitute such Tribunals is vested exclusively in Parliament.
Section (2) of the same Article provides that a law made by Parliament under section (1) may:
(i) Provide for the establishment of an Administrative Tribunal for the Union and a separate Administrative Tribunal for each State or for two or more States;
(ii) Specify the jurisdiction, powers and authority which may be exercised by
(iii) Provide for the procedure to be followed by these tribunals; and
(iv) Exclude the jurisdiction of all courts except the special jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 136.
7Article 323-B empowers Parliament or State Legislatures to set up tribunals for matters other than those covered by clause (2) of Article 323-A. The matters to be covered by such tribunals are as follows:
(i) Levy, assessment, collection and enforcement of any tax;
(ii) Foreign exchange, import and export across customs frontiers;
(iii) Industrial and labor disputes;
(iv) Matters connected with land reforms covered by Article 31-A;
(v) Ceiling on urban property;
(vi) Elections to either House of Parliament or Legislatures of the States and
(vii) Production, procurement, supply and distribution of food-stuffs or other essential goods.
A law made under the above provisions may provide for the establishment of a hierarchy of tribunals and specify the jurisdiction, powers and authority which may be exercised by each of them. Such law may also provide for the procedure to be followed by these tribunals and exclude the jurisdiction of all courts except the Supreme Court of India.
The Scheme of Administrative Tribunals envisaged by Part XIV-A of the Constitution as several other provisions of the Forty-second Amendment of the Constitution was looked upon with suspicion and misgivings by certain sections of political and public opinion in the country and that was reflected in the attempt of the Janata Government (1977-79) to abolish these provisions. The Forty-fourth Amendment (1978) among other things sought to abolish Part XIV-A altogether. However, this attempt of the Janata Government was unsuccessful as it could not muster adequate support in Parliament.
The basic objective of administrative tribunals is to take out of the purview of the regular courts of law certain matters of dispute between the citizen and government agencies and make the judicial process quick and less expensive.
The fact that there has been a phenomenal increase in the number of disputes in which administrative authorities are involved has to be recognized. If all these disputes go to the ordinary judicial system where there is provision for appeals to successive higher courts one after another, there will be no speedy settlement of such disputes and they might linger for years or decades.
The Administrative Tribunals Bill, 2006
The Administrative Tribunals (Amendment) Bill, 2006 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on March 18, 2006 to amend the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 (Principal Act). The Bill was referred to the Departmentally Related Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice (Chairperson: Shri E.M. Sudarsana Natchiappan) which is scheduled to submit its report within three months. The Bill was introduced by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
The Principal Act sought to allow administrative tribunals to adjudicate on disputes related to recruitment and conditions of service of people appointed to public services in India and appointed by any corporation or society owned by the Government. It aimed to exclude the jurisdiction of all courts in such matters.
The Bill seeks to modify the Principal Act to provide for abolition of administrative tribunals if it is considered appropriate. The Central Government can abolish any tribunal established for a state or a number of states and provide for the transfer and disposal of cases pending before such tribunals.
The Chairman, Vice Chairman or any member of a tribunal would not be entitled to compensation for the premature termination of their term of service if they took voluntary retirement from the services of the respective government to join the tribunal. These members would be entitled to get paid by the respective governments till they attain the age of superannuation or the completion of their tenure in the tribunal, whichever is earlier.
The Principal Act empowered the administrative tribunals to exercise the same power as the High Court with respect to contempt of court. The Bill brings the administrative tribunals under the jurisdiction of the High Courts and abolishes the tribunals’ power to punish for contempt of court.
If a person is aggrieved by the decision of the tribunal, he can file an appeal in the High Court within 60 days from the date of the decision of the tribunal.
Composition of Tribunals
The Jurisdiction and the procedure are different or distinguishable in the Administrative Tribunals from the ordinary courts. They exercise jurisdiction only in relation to the service matters of the litigants covered by the Act. Administrative tribunals are also free from the shackles of many of the technicalities of the ordinary courts. The procedural simplicity of the Act can be appreciated from the fact that the aggrieved person can also appear before it personally. 5Government can also present its cases through its departmental officers or legal practitioners. Further, only a nominal fee of Rs.50/- is to be paid by the litigants for filing the application before the Tribunal. Thus, the objective of the Tribunal is to provide speedy and inexpensive justice to the litigants.
The Act provides for establishment of Central Administrative Tribunal and the State Administrative Tribunals. The Central Administrative Tribunal was setup on November 1, 1985.
Every Tribunal shall consist of a Chairman and such number of Vice-Chairmen and judicial and administrative members as the Government deems it. Each Tribunal may constitute one or more Benches and each bench shall include at least one judicial member and one administrative member. Currently the Central Administrative Tribunal has 17 regular benches at New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai, Allahabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Guwahati, Ahemdabad, Cuttak, Jodhpur, Hyderabad, Patna, Ernakulam, Lucknow and Jaipur. The Circuit benches of the C.A.T. are at 13 places-Goa, Shimla, Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Sikkim, Jammu, Srinagar, Shilong, Agartala, Imphal, Indore, Gwaliar and Nagpur.
President appoints the members of the Tribunals. President consults the Chief Justice of India in the appointment of judicial members and the Governor of the concerned State for the appointment of the members of S.A.T. They hold office for a term of five years or up to the age of 65 years in case of other members, whichever is earlier. President can remove them from the office on ground of proven misbehavior or incapacity after an enquiry made by a judge of the Supreme Court.
The CAT consists of a Chairman, Vice Chairmen and Members. The Vice-Chairmen and Members are drawn from judicial as well as administrative streams so as to give the Tribunal the benefit of expertise both in legal and administrative spheres. As per Administrative Tribunal (Amendment) Act 2006, the posts of Members have been equated with the Vice-Chairmen and the posts of Vice-Chairmen will not be filled after the expiry of terms of the present incumbents. The sanctioned strength of the Chairman, Vice Chairmen and Members of Central Administrative Tribunal at present is as below:-
Members: 49 —66.
The qualifications prescribed for the member are:
1. Chairman: a) Must be or has been a judge of a High Court; or
b) Have held office of vice-chairman for at least two years; or
c) Had held the post of secretary to the Government of India for two years.
2. Vice-Chairman: a) Must be or has been a judge of a High Court; or
b) Have held office of vice-chairman for at least two years; or above, or
c) Must have held a post of Additional Secretary to the Government of India for at least five years.
3. Judicial Member: a) Must be or has been a judge of a High Court; or
b) Must have been a member of Indian legal service or held a post in Grade 1 of that service for a period of at least three years.
4. Administrative Member: Must have held the post of an Additional Secretary to the Government of India or other equivalent post of a Joint Secretary to the Government of India or other equivalent post, or have adequate administrative experience.
These Tribunals have all the powers, authority and Jurisdiction of all the courts in India except that of the Supreme Court in matters relating to: 1) Recruitment to All India Service, or any civil service or post under the Union Government or civilian employees of Defense service. 2) All service matter of the above employees, or employees of any local authority, society, or corporation under the control of the Union Government or employees of local bodies or State whose services have been placed at the disposal of the Union Government.
It has also been the constant endeavor of this Ministry that the posts of Chairman and Members are filled well in time and no post remains vacant for long time. The appointment of Chairman, CAT, as per practice, is made by the Chief Justice of India on a reference made to this effect by the Central Government. The appointments of Members are made on the basis of recommendations of a Selection Committee Chaired by a nominee of the Chief Justice of India who is a sitting judge of the Supreme Court. The appointment of Vice Chairmen in CAT have been discontinued after the expiry of terms of the present incumbents since the posts of Members have been upgraded to the level of Vice Chairmen in the CAT as per the AT (Amendment) Act 2006. The appointments are made with the approval of Appointments Committee of the Cabinet after obtaining the concurrence of the Chief Justice of India. All selections of Members have been made against the vacancies of Vice-Chairmen and Members in CAT arising up to 31 December, 2009.
Under the Administrative Tribunal Act, State Administrative Tribunals were also set up in the following States –
1) Andhra Pradesh 2) Himachal Pradesh 3) Orissa 4) Karnataka 5) Madhya Pradesh 6) Maharashtra 7) Tamil Nadu and 8) West Bengal
However, the Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh Administrative Tribunals have since been abolished The appointments to the vacancies in State Administrative Tribunals are made on the basis of proposals sent by the State Governments with the approval of the Governor. Thereafter, their appointments undergo the same process as the one in respect of Central Administrative Tribunal. Recently, proposals have been received from the State Governments of Bihar and Kerala for establishing State Administrative Tribunals. These cases are being processed.
Since its inception in 1985 up to September, 2009 the Central Administrative Tribunal received for adjudication 5,39,959 cases (including those transferred from High Courts), out of which 5,17,587 cases have been disposed of leaving a pendency of 22,372 cases. As regard simple mutation of the judgments of the CAT is concerned, all the Ministries and Departments were requested to monitor their implementation. According to the information for the period 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 (up to September30, 2009) forwarded by various Ministries/Departments, out of 537 judgments given, 291 have been implemented and appeals against 207 judgments are in process of being filed in the various High Courts.
With a view to making it more attractive for serving officers from All India Services and Group ‘A’ Central Civil Services to opt for appointment as Administrative Members and to attract the best talent from the judicial stream for appointment as Judicial Members and also to provide for greater stability in the office of the Chairman CAT, the Administrative Tribunal Act, 1985 has been amended and the same has been made effective with effect February19, 2007.
Section 14(2) of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 empowers the Central Government to extend the provisions of the Act to local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of Government of India and to corporations or Societies owned or controlled by Government of India. In exercise of these powers, the Central Government had extended the provisions of the Act to 191 organizations so far.
With a view to improving the quality of judgments being delivered by the Central Administrative Tribunal, an initiative has been taken to send the newly appointed Members to the National Judicial Academy at Bhopal, for an orientation program. The first of the training programs was held this year from April 20 – 23, 2009, and action is being taken to repeat it.
All India Conferences of all the Members of the CAT to deliberate on in house issues was held on November 1, 2009. The conference was inaugurated by the Chief Justice of India.
The orders of the Tribunals are binding on the parties. These Tribunals are not bound by the procedure laid down in the Civil Procedure Code but are guided by the principles of Natural Justice.
The civil servants in India are as regarded as a privileged lot for the simple reason that they enjoy security and the Constitution guarantees them ‘equal pay for equal work’ through the machinery of pay commissions. Salary apart their perks and fringe benefits formally as well as informally go much beyond the prescribed pay packages. There are all sorts of benefits, like leave, medical reimbursement, housing, vehicles, pension, gratuity, free telephones, hard duty allowances, foreign travel, free children’s education and innumerable fringe benefits which were given but the British rulers to treat them a breed apart. Then there are invisible benefits like status, traditional or customary facilities, abuse of office and obliging friends and relatives which cannot be worked out in monetary terms. All this was conceded by the legitimate comforts and care. The civil service has not only preserved these extra privileges but has raised a bogy that they are underpaid.
Now they are demanding equal benefits in public sector undertakings and in the secretariats at par with the private sector managers. The technique has worked well while their caliber and moral fiber has gone considerably low because of varied factors which they know but do not accept. The trade union movement in the junior cadres of service has been playing havoc and the dividing line between essential and non essential service has literally blurred. The right to freedom, including protest without arms had caused militancy and even petty grievances are violently expressed much at the cost of human right of citizens. The social justice movement apart, the junior employees are fighting against the arbitrary policies towards their service in the name of grievances. The senior officials including the members of the All India Services are discontented and airing their grievances genuine or fake against the people and their elected representatives. People complaint of corruption, senior civilians complain of political interference of leaders and junior employees talk of exploitation. The rule of law is the casualty and grievance redressal mechanism are being suggested to solve the reasonable problems of the civil servants in an effective manner.
These tribunals have no doubt provided relief to the employees in getting their grievanees redressed in a much shorter time and at much lesser cost. The number of cases decided by these since their inception is indeed impressive. But the backlog of cases is increasing even here. So efforts must been made to keep their procedure simple, intelligible and quick to maximum satisfaction to the employees.
1. Sharma and Saldana (2009), Public Administration in Theory and Practice, New Delhi. p.489. 2. Sharma and Saldana (2009), Public Administration in Theory and Practice, New Delhi. p.489. 3. Sharma and Saldana (2009), Public Administration in Theory and Practice, New Delhi. p.490. 4. http://www.cgat.gov.in/act.htm.
5. Ministry of personnel, Annual Report (2009-10), Public grievances and pension, government of India, New Delhi. 6. Constitution of India, (Forty Second Amendment act) Act 1976, Section 46. 7. Constitution of India, (Forty Second Amendment act) Act 1976, Section 46.
1. Bhattacharya and Chakrabarty (2003) Ed., Public Administration, Oxford University Press, New Delhi. p. 335.
2. Constitution of India, (Forty Second Amendment act) Act 1976, Section 46.
3. Ministry of personnel, Annual Report (2009-10), Public grievances and pension, government of India, new Delhi. pp. 155-159.
4. (Sanyal kayashi, The Administrative Tribunals(Amendment) Bill 2006, PRS Legislative Research, New Delhi.) http://www.prsindia.org/uploads/media/1167468637/summary1197284560_Bill_Summary____Administrative_Tribunal__Amendment__Bill__2006.pdf
5. Sharma and Saldana (2009), Public Administration in Theory and Practice, New Delhi. pp. 489-491.
6. (The Administrative Tribunal Act, 1985, Central Administrative Tribunal, Principle Bench, New Delhi.) http://www.cgat.gov.in/act.htm