Kerala Administrative Tribunal

Kerala Administrative Tribunal
By section 46 of the Indian Constitution (Forty Second Amendment) Act, 1976, after Part XIV of the Constitution, Part XIV A was inserted which relates to Tribunals.  Article 323A contained in Part XIV A stipulates that Parliament may, by law, 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 owned or controlled by the Government.  In order to give effect to the aforesaid Administrative Tribunal for the Union and a separate Administrative Tribunal for a State or a Joint Administrative Tribunal for two or more States the Administrative Tribunals Bill was introduced in the Parliament.
 
1.   The Bill sought to give effect to the aforesaid constitutional provision by providing for the establishment of an Administrative Tribunal for the Union and separate Administrative Tribunals for the States or a Joint Administrative Tribunal for two or more States.  The Bill also provided for-
(a) the jurisdiction, powers (including the power to punish for contempt) and authority which may be exercised by each Tribunal;
(b) the procedure (including provision as to limitation and rules of evidence) to be followed by the such Tribunals;
(c) exclusion of the jurisdiction of all courts, except that of the Supreme Court under article 136 of the Constitution relating to service matters.
(d) the transfer to each Administrative Tribunal of any suit or other proceedings pending before any court or other authority immediately before the establishment of such Tribunal as would have been within the jurisdiction of such Tribunal if the causes of action on which such suits or proceedings are based, had arisen after such establishment.
 
2. The establishment of Administrative Tribunal under the  aforesaid provision of the Constitution has become necessary since a large number of cases relating to  service matters are pending before the various courts.  It is expected that the setting up of such Administrative Tribunal to deal exclusively with  service matters would go a long way in not only reducing the burden of the various courts and thereby giving them more time to deal with other cases expeditiously  but would also provide to the persons covered by Administrative Tribunal speedy relief in respect of their grievances. 
The Administrative Tribunals Bill having been passed by both the Houses of Parliament received the assent of the President on 27th February, 1985.  It came on the  Statute Book as THE ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNALS ACT, 1985 (13 of 1985).
Later three Amendments were enacted in the year 1986, 1987 and 2006.  Another amendment was proposed in 2012.
 
Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985.
(No. 13 of 1985)
The Administrative Tribunals Act 1985 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 any Corporation (or society) owned or controlled by the Government (in pursuance of Article 323 A of the Constitution) and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
It extends,
(a) In so far as it relates to the Central Administrative Tribunal, to the whole of India.
(b) In so far as it relates to the Administrative Tribunals for States, to the whole of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
 
Establishment of State Administrative Tribunal
Relevant extracts from the Act are given below:
The Central Government may, on receipt of a request in this behalf from any State Government, establish by Notification, an Administrative Tribunal for the State to be known as the Kerala Administrative Tribunal to exercise the jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred on the Administrative Tribunal for the State by or under this Act.  
 
Composition of Tribunals and Benches thereof
Each Tribunal shall consist of a Chairman and such number of judicial and Administrative members as the appropriate Government may deem fit and, subject to the other provisions of this Act, the jurisdiction, powers and authority of the Tribunal may be exercised by Benches thereof.
 
Qualification for appointment as Chairman and Senior Members
1. A person shall not be qualified for appointment as the Chairman unless he is, or has been a judge of a High Court;
Provided that a person appointed as Vice-Chairman before the commencement of Administrative Tribunal (Amendment) Act 2006 shall be qualified for appointment as Chairman, if such persons has held the office of the Vice Chairman at least for a period of two years.
 
Formation of Kerala Administrative Tribunal
It has come to notice of the Government that a large number of cases relating to service matters are pending before the Hon'ble High Court.  Government, therefore, felt that the setting up of an Administrative Tribunal in the State to deal with service matters would go a long way not only to reduce the burden of the High Court and thereby giving more time to it to deal with other cases expeditiously but would also provide to the persons covered by the Administrative Tribunal speedy relief in respect of their grievances.  Various Service Orgaisations in the State also demanded to set up the Administrative Tribunal to redress employee's grievances in a speedy manner.
The Kerala Administrative Tribunal was set up in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of Section 4 of the Administrative Tribunals Act 1985, by a notification published by Government of India.  The Kerala Administrative Tribunal came into existence with effect from 26.08.2010, with issuance of notification dated 25.08.2010 by  the Government of India and the appointment of Sri.K.Balakrishnan Nair as its Chairman by the President of India.  The Government of India also by publishing notification bearing no.G.S.R.705(E) dated 25.8.2010 in Gazette of India (Extraordinary) Part II under section 3(i) dated 25.8.2010 declared August 26, 2010 as the "appointed day of" of Kerala Administrative Tribunal within the meaning of Clause (c) of Section 3 of the said Act.
 
Appointment of Chairman
The President of India appointed Shri.Justice K.Balakrishnan Nair, as Chairman, Kerala Administrative Tribunal, in scale of pay of Rs,80,000/- (fixed) from the date on which the Kerala Administrative Tribunal is established under sub-section 2 of Section 4 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985.
The appointment of Shri.Justice.K.Balakrishnan Nair as Chairman, Kerala Administrative Tribunal, will be for a period of 5 years from the date of assumption of the charge of the post or till the age of 68 years, whichever is earlier.
The conditions of service of Shri,Justice.K.Balakrishnan Nair, as Chairman, Kerala Administrative Tribunal shall be in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Tribunals Act 1985 as amended by the Administrative Tribunals (Amendment) Act 2006.  Hon'ble Chairman took charge on 03.09.2010.
 
Establishment of 3 benches
Consequent on the notification issued by Central Government, under  section 4(2) of Administrative Tribunals Act, the jurisdiction of the Hon'ble High Court to deal with the service matters of the Government employees ceased to exist.  Therefore having  regard to the enormity of the workload, it was felt that the tribunal can be effective substitute for High Court only if there are three benches to adjudicate the matters.
In view of the above, the strength of the members of Tribunal was enhanced from three to six so as to create three Benches, each having one Judicial Member and one Administrative Member, out of which two Benches are to function at Thiruvananthapuram and one at Ernakulam.
 
Functions of the Tribunal
Hon'ble Chairman is at the helm of affairs of the Kerala Administrative Tribunal.  As per the Administrative Tribunals Act, a bench should contain one Judicial Member and one Administrative Member.   At present, there are two Administrative Members only, in addition to Hon'ble Chairman.  Hon'ble Member Sri.Mathew.C.Kunnunkal was sworn in on 22nd of December 2011 and sitting started on the same day.  Altogether 4 sittings were conducted in December 2011.  Sri.S.Pradeep Kumar Naidu sworn in on 2nd January 2012 and started sitting on the same day.  As such only one Bench (Principal Bench) is functioning now.  Hon'ble Administrative Members also conduct single sittings to deal with TA Cases (Transferred Applications).  Even though two more Judicial Members were selected for appoint in the Tribunal, they couldn't be appointed for various reasons and an SLP is pending in the Hon'ble Supreme Court concerning their appointment.
 
 
Registrar
Registrar is the Administrative Head of the Tribunal.  Registrar is appointed by deputation from the cadre of "District and Sessions Judges" in Kerala Higher Judiciary.  Three Deputy Registrars viz.  Deputy Registrar (Judicial), Deputy Registrar (Administration) and Deputy Registrar (Finance) are under him to assist him in judicial administrative and financial matters respectively.  Judicial Branch, Filling Branch and Copying Branch form part of the Judicial Wing.  
 
Jurisdiction, powers and authority of Kerala Administrative Tribunal.
Kerala Administrative Tribunal is established to take up disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services under the control of the Government of Kerala or of any Corporation owned or controlled by the Government.
As per Section 15 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, the Administrative Tribunal for a State shall exercise, on and from the appointed day, all the jurisdiction, powers and authority exercisable immediately before that day by all courts (except the Supreme Court in relation to-
(a) recruitment, and matters concerning recruitment to any civil service of the State or to any civil post under the State;
(b) all service matters concerning a person (not being a person referred to in clause (c) of this sub section or a member, person or civilian referred to in clause (b) of sub section (1) of Section 14)  appointed to any civil service of the State or any civil post under the State and pertaining to the service of such person in connection with the affairs of the State or of any local or other authority under the control of the State Government or of any corporation owned or controlled by the State Government.
(c) all service matters pertaining to service in connection with the affairs of the State concerning a person appointed to any service or post referred to in clause (b), being a person whose services have been placed by any such local or other authority or corporation or other body as is controlled or owned by the State Government at the disposal of the State Government for such appointment.
Section 15(2) of the Act says that the State Government may by notification apply with effect from such date as may be specified in the notification the provisions of sub section (3) to local or other authorities and corporations or societies controlled or owned by the State Government.
Though State Government has not issued notification under the Section 15(2) above, in accordance with the Decision of the Hon'ble High Court dated 12.3.2013 (in WP(C)No.158/2013) the Tribunal began to consider disputes related to Municipal Common Services and Panchayats.
 
Punishment for Contempt
Kerala Administrative Tribunal has the powers to exercise the same jurisdiction of powers and authority in respect of contempt of itself  as a High Court has and may exercise under the provisions of the Contempt of Court Act, 1971 subject to certain modifications.
 
 
www.keralaadministrativetribunal.gov.in.