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The Delhi High Court has requested the Central Administrative Tribunal, New Delhi to “undertake course correction” with regard to the manner in which it deals with original applications.
“The orders should not reflect a casual approach of the Tribunal but should reflect the due application of mind by the Tribunal to the controversies raised before it.”
The order was passed by a Division Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli while dealing with a petition assailing an order passed by the Tribunal with respect to the petitioner’s APAR gradings for four assessment years.
The petitioner had contended that the Tribunal did not examine the grievance in relation to each assessment year separately, and did not even discuss the other submissions raised by him.
The respondents also conceded that the petitioner’s grievance in relation to each of the assessment years was not individually dealt with by the Tribunal. Nonetheless, the findings of the Tribunal were sound, it was argued.
After hearing the parties, the Court stated that whenever an applicant approaches the Tribunal, he has the legitimate hope that he will be heard and that the case will be decided on merits. The same should be reflected in the orders passed by the Tribunal, it added.
As a result, when an applicant assails an order by the Tribunal before the High Court, the challenge should not pertain to allegations of improper hearing, the Court observed.
“When an applicant approaches this Court to assail an order of the Tribunal, his grievance should not relate to his not having been given a proper hearing, or his case not being decided on the aspects urged by him before the Tribunal, but should only relate to the correctness or otherwise of the order passed by the Tribunal.”
The Court then went on to observe that unfortunately, it has had to deal with several such cases raising objections that should have been addressed before the Tribunal itself.
“Unfortunately, in several cases, we have had to deal with such grievances, and considering that it is primarily for the Tribunal to deal with the issues raised by the applicant in the first instance, we have had to remand these cases back to the Tribunal.”
The Court also noted that it was aware of an order of the Tribunal, expressing its views on its orders remanding cases to the Tribunal.
To this, it remarked,
“We have no penchant to pass remand orders, and our endeavour is to always deal with the case on its own merit. However, when such situations arise – where we find that the Tribunal has not bestowed its consideration to the grievances and submissions of the parties, we are helpless and are compelled to remand back the matter to the Tribunal only to ensure that the first round of adjudication is not rendered illusory for the applicant. We must, therefore, remand such like cases.”
Thus urging the Tribunal to ensure that cases are properly dealt with, the Court said,
“We request the Tribunal to kindly undertake course correction with regard to the manner in which it has sometimes been dealing with original applications and to ensure that cases are properly dealt with. The orders should not reflect upon a casual approach of the Tribunal, but should reflect due application of mind by the Tribunal to the controversies raised before it.”
Based on these observations, the four original applications were remanded for reconsideration to the Tribunal on merits.
The petitioner was represented by Advocate KL Manhas. CGSC Anurag Ahluwalia and Kartikiya Rastogi appeared for CAT.
Read the order: