BENGALURU: The Karnataka Administrative Tribunal (KAT), which has been crippled by a shortage of members, faced another setback with its acting chairman Abhijith Dasgupta’s tenure coming to an end on Monday. Gupta is a retired IAS officer.
Besides, around 30,000 cases, related to various services of state government employees, are pending before the tribunal for adjudication since 2001.
Of the six sanctioned posts — three judicial and three administrative — in KAT, three posts — two administrative and one judicial — are vacant.A P Joshi, an administrative member, has been sharing the bench with two judicial members Moosa Kunhi Nayarmoole and G Shanthappa.
As Dasgupta’s tenure came to an end, the state government appointed senior judicial member Nayarmoole as acting chairman. This, however, does not make any difference, as the total number of members of KAT remains three.
Dasgupta, the senior most administrative member, had been holding the post of the chairman on in-charge basis from December 20, 2013, though the law mandates that the post should have someone who is or was a High Court judge.
On July 22, 2014, the Government of India had appointed G Shanthappa as judicial member of KAT. This brought little relief for the litigants. The delay in filling up the vacant posts of the administrative members and the chairman has defeated the very purpose of establishing the tribunal which was set up for speedy disposal of cases pertaining to service matters. It appears there is no end to the woes of the litigants.
High Court’s View
In view of the delay, a group of advocates had filed a PIL in the High Court seeking directions to the state government to expedite the process of the appointment of KAT chairman.
During the last hearing on July 27, a division bench directed the government to fill key vacant posts in KAT, after the bench was informed that the acting chairman Abhijit Dasgupta, was going to retire in October.
The Centre had rejected the state government’s proposal to appoint Justice Nagamohan Das, former High Court judge, as KAT chairman. Following this, the state government recommended former High Court judge Justice K Bhakthavatsala to the post recently. Retired IAS officer V P Baligar was recommended as an administrative member. But the names are are still under consideration.