The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet Wednesday decided to abolish the state administrative tribunal, despite opposition by lawyers, who claim that the move will affect thousands of government employees.
This is the second time the tribunal is being abolished, the last time was in 2008 when the BJP was in power in the state, a senior lawyer said, adding that it was reconstituted in 2015 by the Congress government.
The cabinet in its meeting, which was presided over by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, decided to abolish the state administrative tribunal (SAT) and issued directions to initiate necessary steps in this regard, an official spokesperson said.
Lawyers had urged the government not to abolish the tribunal, and the Himachal Pradesh State Administrative Tribunal (Central Zone) Bar Association Mandi and Kangra, and other district bar associations had passed a resolution in June in this regard.
In the resolution, the associations had said that abolishing the tribunal will cause unnecessary harassment to lakhs of state government employees.
Copies of the resolution had also been sent to the chief minister, President of the SAT Bar Association and senior lawyer SP Parmar said.
The tribunal was created in 1988 in Shimla and later it started holding its hearings at Mandi and Kangra, he said.
Employees from eight districts had demanded permanent benches for Mandi and Kangra, and during the 2007 state election, the BJP had mentioned this in its manifesto, he added.
But it was abolished in 2008 when the saffron party came to power and its matters were taken over by civil courts.When the Congress came to power in 2012, it reestablished the tribunal in 2015, Parmar said.
"The tribunal has decided 22,425 cases out of 33,125 pertaining to employees which were filed before it from February 28, 2015, to April 30, 2019, he said.
The Tribunal has also decided 839 contempt petitions, 46 review petitions,123 execution petitions and 9,148 miscellaneous applications during the period, Parmar added.
Besides, the tribunal disposed 1,694 cases out of 6,485 cases which were transferred to it by the Himachal Pradesh High Court during the period, he added.
The cabinet has also been decided to increase the discretionary fund of MLAs from the existing Rs 7 lakh to Rs 8 lakh per year, the spokesperson said.
In another decision, the cabinet said that the transport department will establish a Transport Nagar in Solan.
Land available with the urban development department for the project will be transferred to the transport department, the spokesperson said.
The cabinet has decided to fill up 113 posts of forest guards on contract basis to ensure protection and conservation of forests in the state.
It gave its approval to fill up five posts of civil judges in the Himachal Pradesh High Court through direct recruitment, the spokesperson said.
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