Citing 1,350 cases pending disposal for more than 10 years, a Parliamentary committee has asked the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) to decide them on a priority basis, specifically the ones related to pensions and senior citizens.
The tribunal adjudicates service matters of central government employees.
As many as 80,545 cases are pending in different benches of the tribunal as on December 31, 2022.
Of these, 16,661 cases are pending for zero to one year, 46,534 for one to five years, 16,000 for five to 10 years and 1,350 for more than 10 years, the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice said in its report.
The panel said according to the Central Administrative Tribunal (Procedure) Rules, 1987, every application should be heard and decided as far as possible, within six months from the date of its registration.
"However, the Committee notes that there are about 1,350 cases pending for over ten years. The Committee also learnt that there are approximately 3,716 cases related to pensions pending in the tribunal. The Committee recommends that CAT should dispose of cases related to pensions, matters related to senior citizens and cases which are more than 10 years old on a priority basis and conduct special drives if need be," the report said.
The Committee noted the mounting pendency of cases in CAT, and it felt that one of the major reasons for the delay is the non-availability of a sufficient number of members.
The sanctioned strength of members in CAT is 70 (35 judicial members and 35 administrative members), including the chairman.
As of date, 53 (28 judicial members and 25 administrative members) members, including the chairman, are in position and 17 posts (7 judicial members and 10 administrative members) are vacant.
The Committee said it was informed that in some benches of the tribunal, cases are pending for want of division bench as a sufficient number of division benches are not available due to vacancy of members, according to the report.
The panel inferred from the data provided by the tribunal that Allahabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jammu, and Patna benches are operating with 50 per cent of the sanctioned strength, it said.
"The Committee recommends that steps should be taken to ensure that these vacancies are filled up at the earliest. The Committee is happy to note that CAT is contemplating implementing an Advance Case Information system which facilitates hearing of cases through video-conferencing and complete digitisation of the functioning of the tribunal and hopes that it is operationalised soon," the report said.
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