As the ongoing deadlock between Haryana government and Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association continues, the state government has taken a step back and announced that a panel headed by the state’s chief secretary will look into the “legality, viability and workability” of the tribunal.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s decision to order formation of a committee’s on the matter comes after representatives of the Bar Association met him in New Delhi on August 9. Since July 24, advocates at Punjab and Haryana High Court have suspended work and are protesting against the setting up of this administrative tribunal.
The tribunal is meant to adjudicate over the service matters of the state employees that earlier would be directly heard by the High Court. Official data reveals that nearly 11,000 cases will be transferred from the High Court to tribunal once it starts functioning.
“The Hon’ble Chief Minister, Haryana, has ordered that a committee headed by the Chief Secretary to government of Haryana, concerned senior officers, chairman, Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, president and honorary secretary, Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, nominee of Advocate General, Haryana and representatives of the employees be constituted to report about legality, viability and workability of Haryana Administrative Tribunal. Formal orders constituting the committee would be issued separately”, the letter issued by the Chief Secretary, on August 12, to Harpreet Singh Brar, chairman, Bar Council, DPS Randhawa, president, Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association and Rohit Sud, honorary secretary, Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association reads.
The Administrative Tribunal will function as a quasi-judicial body on the lines of Central Administrative Tribunal for redressal of the grievance of state employees concerning their employment. In the absence of the Tribunal, the employees have no other option but to directly approach the High Court. Government’s decision to establish the tribunal was pending since 2015 aimed at reducing a large number of pending cases before the High Court and quick disposal of the grievances of employees. Tribunal orders can be challenged before the High Court.
Following a recommendation from the Haryana government, the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions on July 24 issued a notification for establishing the Haryana Administrative Tribunal. The next day, judges at the High Court stopped hearing the service matters from Haryana with the reasoning that the court no more had the power in view of the notification.