The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Union of India, High Court of J&K, and Central Administrative Tribunal, bench at Chandigarh in a Writ Petition inter alia seeking establishment of permanent bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal and J&K.
After the change of status of J&K from a State to a Union Territory, all the State employees have now become Central Government employees and their service matters are required to be heard by the Central Administrative Tribunal. This includes over 30,000 cases pending before the J&K High Court and any new cases to be filed in future. By a Notification issued on 29.4.2020 the DoPT conferred jurisdiction over the UTs of J&K to the Chandigarh Bench of CAT. In the meantime, HC has also started identifying cases to be transferred from HC to CAT.
This has been challenged in a Writ Petition titled Asheesh Singh Kotwal & Anr Vs Union of India & Ors. inter alia on the ground that this violates the fundamental right of access to justice to the litigants of J&K due to large number of cases, and demographic and geographic condition of Jammu and Kashmir. It has also been pleaded that High Court's powers under Article 226 are not taken away and the High Court should continue to hear service writs till a permanent bench with adequate strength, staff and facilities is established in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Supreme Court issued notice to the Centre and other parties returnable in four weeks. Writ Petition was filed by Mr. Arjun Garg, Advocate on Record, and was argued by Mr. Ravindra Shrivastava, Senior Advocate.