THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Administrative Tribunal (KAT), formed on the lines of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) for dealing with the cases of the State Government employees, is yet to get into full swing, as the local bodies, boards and corporations have not yet been brought under its ambit even after one-and-a-half years since its inception.
The scenario was created by the State Government, as it has not issued a notification under the Section 15(2) of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985, to widen its jurisdiction to the aforesaid sections. This would simply keep away nearly one third of the total staff in the Public Sector and Quasi-Government Undertakings in the state from the jurisdiction of the KAT.
In an order, dated January 6, 2012, the Kerala High Court had made it clear that “the meaning of the expression local authority, which is employed in the sub-clauses as well as sub-section (2) of the Section 15, has to be construed as referring to local authorities such as municipalities, corporations or panchayats. In the case of such local authorities, it has been specified that the provisions of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985, would have to be specifically made applicable by issuing a notification by the State Government under the sub-section (2) of Section 15”. Thus the entire staff of the 14 districts, 152 blocks and 978 grama panchayats, 60 municipalities and five municipal corporations are kept out of the jurisdiction of the KAT.
The employees of boards and corporations, including Kerala State Electricity Board, Kerala Water Authority, Kerala State Road Transport Corporation, Kerala Tourism Development Corporation, Kerala State Film Development Corporation, Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation, Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation, Kerala Financial Corporation, Kerala State Financial Enterprises, Kerala State Housing Board, Kerala State Warehousing Corporation and Kerala State Beverages Corporation are also out of the KAT net. “This literally turns the KAT, which started with much fanfare, into a mere scarecrow. Further, the lack of adequate infrastructure for the smooth functioning of KAT worsens the situation,” said Indian Association of Lawyers (IAL) vice-president Vazhuthacaud R Narendran Nair. The IAL had submitted a memorandum in this regard to the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary, Law Secretary and General Administration principal secretary last month.