Shimla: In defiance of several pressure lobbies, the cabinet here today presided over by chief minister Jai Ram Thakur decided to abolish the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT).
To shut the tribunal, “necessary steps would be taken accordingly,” a government spokesman said late in the evening after the cabinet meeting.
It was more than 10 years ago, on 11 July, 2008 when an earlier BJP government led by Prem Kumar Dhumal that had first shut down the state tribunal.
The tribunal was set up with a notification in 1986 as a redressal forum for service related matters of government employees.
In July 2008 there were at least 23,000 cases pending with SAT and the reasoning given by a government official for winding up the tribunal then was that since most of the cased decided by tribunal ended up in the High Court. With closing of SAT it would reduce litigation costs as well as redressal of grievance levels.
After the tribunal was closed, all the pending cases were shifted to the High Court, where many long pending cases were decided.
With a Virbhadra Singh led Congress government coming back to power in December 2012, SAT was revived on 28th February, 2015 and all the service related cases were transferred back to the tribunal.
Currently other than chairman Justice VK Sharma, the tribunal was functioning with one other judicial member. There were two vacancies of administrative members in the tribunal that were in the process of being filled, but the cabinet decision has stalled it.