Not setting up CAT in J&K is to defeat justice at doorstep: Altaf Bukhari


Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) president Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Thursday vehemently objected to a central government order by virtue of which all aggrieved employees of union territory of Jammu and Kashmir are henceforth supposed to approach Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in Chandigarh for redressal of their grievances.

In a statement issued here, Bukhari took a strong exception to the order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training government of India dated April 29 by way of which CAT has been reconstituted and its jurisdiction extended to J&K employees who were brought within the ambit of central services on October 31, 2019 because of the UT status of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Instead of establishing two tribunals one at Jammu and another in Srinagar for the aggrieved employees of J&K UT, shifting above 30,000 service matters pending against J&K UT to the CAT Chandigarh for adjudication is simply a travesty of justice,” Bukhari said while demanding immediate withdrawal of controversial order in the interest of welfare of employees and unemployed youth of Jammu and Kashmir.

He said the new order does not only deprive the aggrieved employees of J&K of speedier and cost effective justice delivery but also deny these rights to the job aspirants of J&K who would like to approach judicial system with their grievances regarding the fairness and other anomalies, if any, in government conducted recruitment processes.

“There are above 30,000 services matters pending in Jammu and Srinagar wings of J&K High Court awaiting disposal. These matters pertain to various claims like promotions, pensions, retirement benefits, transfers, suspensions, disciplinary actions, quashment of selection lists, stays and other similar matters. Once these cases are shifted to CAT in Chandigarh, it is bound to prove a tedious and a costly affair for almost all these litigants which will surely defeat the purpose of constitutionally guaranteed justice at doorstep to the citizens of the country,” Bukhari remarked.

The JKAP president said that the a huge chunk of service matters filed before the J&K high court pertain to daily wagers, casual labourers, consolidated workers, ITI and skilled workers, contractual and adhoc appointees, Class IV besides other low paid employees of both divisions of J&K who can hardly afford the litigation costs, fee for lawyers, and travel and stay expenditures if their litigations are shifted to CAT in Chandigarh.

“By establishing two separate wings of CAT in twin capitals of J&K, justice will get speedier, cheaper and the litigants will have a choice to engage local lawyers and save their expenses on travel and stay besides the average time spent on pursuing a hearing in their matters will be reduced substantially,” he opined.

Also, the aggrieved unemployed job aspirants of J&K will not be required to travel all the way to CAT Chandigarh for redressal of their grievances. In view of the litigants’ expectation for speedy and affordable justice, Bukhari said, the service matters of J&K employees should not be moved to Chandigarh CAT or otherwise claims made by the country’s leadership will fall flat.

“Justice at your doorstep is periodically proclaimed on political and judicial platforms, the same shall prove correct only when justice will be available at everyone’s doorstep. Most of the employees of J&K and job aspirants belonging to economically weaker sections cannot afford boarding and lodging in pursuit of their litigations, far from their home state,” Bukhari said and added that J&K is not like Haryana, Punjab, Amritsar, Himachal Pradesh which surrounds Chandigarh and it amounts to penalising those who do not live in these cities, making it harder for them to access timely and affordable judicial remedy.

The JKAP president solicited the personal intervention of union home minster to order establishment of two designated CAT wings at Jammu and Srinagar in order to provide speedy and affordable justice to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.  “The central government order being inimical to the purpose of justice delivery system in the country needs to be rescinded keeping in mind the above highlighted shortcomings,” Bukhari demanded.

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