Cat: SC: Need to review HC’s CAT jurisdiction | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: Just over a year after ruling that only the Delhi high court and no other HCs would have jurisdiction to entertain a plea against a decision taken by the principal bench of Central Administrative Tribunal, the Supreme Court on Friday said its verdict in the case relating to former West Bengal chief secretary Alapan Bandhopadhyay needed to be re-examined.
In January last year, the top court had allowed the Centre’s plea and set aside the order of the Calcutta HC which had quashed CAT chairman’s order to transfer the hearing on Bandyopadhyay’s plea against disciplinary proceedings from Calcutta bench of CAT to itsprincipal bench in Delhi. The apex court had held that only Delhi HC would have jurisdiction to deal with any petition against the chairman’s order.
The same issue cropped up in the legal wrangle between the Centre and Magsaysay award winner IFS officer SanjivChaturvedi with the Uttrakhand HC quashing the CAT principal bench order to transfer the case from Allahabad bench to itself and the Centre questioning the HC jurisdiction in view of the SC order last year.
Observing that the issue of territorial jurisdiction of HCs is important and it would affect many government employees who are posted across the country, a bench of Justices M R Shah and B V Nagarathna said it has to be adjudicated by a larger bench. “Let the registry place the matter before the Chief Justice of India at the earliest,” the bench said.
The bench agreed with the contention of advocate Shyam Divan who pleaded the court that last year’s verdict should be re-examined as it would create enormous hardships to employees who would be forced to come to Delhi to challenge in Delhi HC the adverse any order passed against them by CAT principal bench.
“The remedies under Article 226 and Article 227 (before HCs) are extremely valuable remedies available to citizens where they reside or carry on business or are posted. The scheme does not require citizens to come exclusively all the way to Delhi to seek redressal. Thus, limiting the remedy under Article 226 is contrary to the spirit of the Constitution, contrary to the spirit and principle of access to justice and contrary to the basic structure of the Constitution. . . ,” Divan said. He said all 25 HCs have equivalent jurisdiction and no discrimination or special treatment is envisaged to any particular HC.


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