Delay in filling top jobs dogs KAT

Senior counsels keep away; case disposal rate hit hard in Tribunal

Government employees who have moved the court challenging administrative matters have to wait for some more time as the appointment of chairman and members for Karnataka Administrative Tribunal (KAT) continues to be delayed.

The pendency of cases before the KAT has exceeded 26,000. The woes of litigants continues at KAT, which is without a head since December 2013, after the retirement of chairman A C Kabbin.

While sources in the High Court of Karnataka stated that it has proposed the name of a former judge Justice Nagmohan Das as chairman, the State government says it has cleared the name and the matter is now pending before the Union government. 

“We have sent the recommendation to the State government after the chief justice cleared the name and the same is now before the Union government,” said a source in the High Court.

Noting that the election code of conduct is in no way connected with the appointment of the chairman, sources said the appointment will happen any time now. However, the litigants and the advocates are unhappy over the delay as the cases are piling up. 

“There are absolutely no proceedings happening here; the disposal here is not more than 15 per cent. It appears that the courts have become stagnant,” said a counsel at KAT.

The KAT comprises three benches. There are two judicial members and three administrative members. At present, KAT is run by one judicial member, Moosa Kunhi Nayarmoole and two administrative members Abhijit Dasgupta and former IAS officer A P Joshi, who was appointed administrative member last week. 

The tribunal hears disputes of government servants pertaining to promotions, selections, dismissals, Lokayukta traps, increment, pension delays and settlements, challenge of suspensions, appointments on compassionate grounds, departmental inquiries and reinstatement, selections pertaining to appointments by KPSC and those left out in the list of appointments by KPSC.  

“For the last six months, only matters pertaining to suspensions are being heard or disposed of. There is no major judgment on any important case. Considering this attitude, many senior counsels are not appearing before the tribunal,” said an advocate who regularly appears before KAT. 

He said KAT is turning into a white elephant with no productivity, while lakhs of rupees of taxpayers’ money every month goes to pay the judges and staff.

No circuit bench

Apart from this, there is a demand to set up another bench of KAT in Dharwad, which is opposed by advocates in Bangalore. 

“We have passed a resolution stating that an additional KAT bench should be set up in Bangalore, considering the requirement. We will not support any KAT bench at any other place,” said A P Ranganath, general secretary, Advocates’ Association of Bangalore (AAB). He said AAB had written to the chief justice as well as the chief minister in this regard.

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