The enactment of Administrative Tribunals Act in 1985 opened a new chapter in the sphere of administering justice to the aggrieved government servants. Administrative Tribunals Act owes its origin to Article 323-A of the Constitution which empowers Central Government to set-up by an Act of Parliament, Administrative Tribunals for adjudication of disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to the public service and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union and the States. In pursuance of the provisions contained in the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985, the Administrative Tribunals set-up under it exercise original jurisdiction in respect of service matters of employees covered by it. As a result of the judgement dated 18 March 1997 of the Supreme Court, the appeals against the orders of an Administrative Tribunal shall lie before the Division Bench of the concerned High Court.
The Administrative Tribunals exercise jurisdiction only in relation to the service matters of the litigants covered by the Act. The procedural simplicity of the Act can be appreciated from the fact that the aggrieved person can also appear before it personally. The Government can present its case through its departmental officers or legal practitioners. Thus, the objective of the Tribunal is to provide for speedy and inexpensive justice to the litigants.
The Act provides for establishment of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) and the State Administrative Tribunals. The CAT was set-up on 1 November 1985. Today, it has 17 regular benches, 15 of which operate at the principal seats of High Courts and the remaining two at Jaipur and Lucknow. These Benches also hold circuit sittings at other seats of High Courts. In brief, the tribunal consists of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Members. The Members are drawn, both from judicial as well as administrative streams so as to give the Tribunal the benefit of expertise both in legal and administrative spheres.
Source: India Book - A Reference Annual