CAT on reforms path in silver jubilee year

The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), which is celebrating its silver jubilee this year, has planned a complete revamp of its administration with a target to cater to one million litigants.

 It is a virtual rise from slumber for the two CAT benches in the City, with a ten-fold increase in the disposal of cases and the number of cases being filed going up by 55 per cent over the past several years.

CAT disposed of several cases this year, including the famous Shankar Bidari case. It has now stepped up reforms, including online filing of cases and setting up of circuit benches in the State.

Dr K B Suresh, Head of Department, CAT, Bangalore bench told Deccan Herald about plans in the pipeline. He said they were disposing of 20 cases a day now, with a pendency of 953 cases.

He said people were now aware of the functioning of CAT and they were expressing faith in the Tribunal.

“We are catering to just 23 lakh people, out of a total 7.34 crore population. We need to cater to more people.” he said.

Suresh said that CAT had written to the Centre to include 426 entities in its jurisdiction. “We are catering to only a few sectors of the government.

We have already written to the Union government to include more entities. It has been approved and sent to various ministries for concurrence,” he said. “A notification will be issued soon and we will be catering to at least one million people in the State. It is bound to be a reality by December 2012,” he said.

To ensure better service, the Tribunal has also written to the Centre to set up three circuit benches in Gulbarga, Dharwad and Mangalore. To meet the bigger challenges, CAT is planning to introduce e-governance and e-filing.

“This will be like income tax returns. One can file returns online from any part of the world, to the tribunal concerned.

“Assume you are in Nepal, but your jurisdiction is Bangalore. You can download the form created specially for this purpose, by making an online payment to the bank. After the documents are submitted, they will be scrutinised and accepted, if the parameters suggested online are met.

CAT has also sought the setting up of a Intra Appellate Authority in the Tribunal, for appealing against the Tribunal orders. “At present, people appeal before the High Court which has a time lag of five to 10 years.

This being a specialised court, the judges and the advocates are different and the disposal rate is high. If the litigant is not happy with the judgement, he can approach the Supreme Court directly,” said Suresh.

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