EMPLOYEES MAY NOT BE ABLE TO CHALLENGE CAT JUDGMENT IN SC
NEW DELHI: Bad news is in store for government employees contesting matters relating to their service conditions in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) as they may not be able to challenge the judgment in the Supreme Court.
Government employees not satisfied with CAT orders on their service matters will continue to appeal in High Courts as government's plan to enable them approach the apex court directly has received a thumbs down from the top law officer.
Recently, the Department of Personnel had asked the Law Ministry whether the present system of CAT orders being challenged in High Courts be changed to fast track disposal of cases of government employees relating to their service conditions and employment rules.
The Law Ministry referred the matter to Attorney General Ghoolam Vahanvati who opined against the move saying a 1997 Supreme Court judgment on the issue should continued to be followed.
"As of now, the buck stops here (on the issue)," Law Minister M Veerappa Moily told PTI when asked to comment on Vahanvati's opinion.
He said his ministry was trying to find a solution. "But I would not like to add anything more to it," he added.
When the CAT was established in 1985 by an Act of Parliament, its rules clearly stated that its judgments on service related matters of state and central government employees can only be challenged in the apex court.
While the same rules is in operation even today, a 1997 Supreme Court ruling held that judicial review is the basic feature of the Constitution and a High Court's power on judicial review cannot be taken away.
After the judgment, appeals against CAT rulings were entertained in High Courts.
"The Armed Forces Tribunal Act has been borrowed from CAT. Appeals against Tribunal's orders can only be challenged in the Supreme Court. But in CAT's case, it has become a three tier system...the entire purpose of CAT has been defeated," said a CAT functionary.
He said while CAT usually disposes off a case in six months, appeal in High Court often takes years.
"They pay Rs 50 as fee to move CAT, but they have to pay thousands of rupees in High Court...if the matter reaches Supreme Court, the time and cost involved is massive," he said.
Source: Economic Times
INDIA POST TO START CONSUMER AUDIT
NEW DELHI The department of posts has initiated external consumer audits to understand the growing needs of urban customers worried over decline in its market share in mail service business that it once dominated.
India Post will conduct these audits primarily in its urban post offices to gauge market sentiments of the urban population, which is rapidly switching to private courier service providers.
" The idea is to build India Post brand for greater acceptability in cities," said an official with the department. In the recent years, the department's revenues from its postal operations have been on the decline. The specific areas of business where the department's revenue receipts appear on the decline are ordinary post, money-orders and postal-orders.
There has, however, been recent improvement in the department's revenue figures. Figures as on October 2010 show the department's revenue receipts on postage realised in cash at Rs 1,321 crore, which is a 11% increase to the figure as on October 2009.
However, commission on money-orders and postal-orders have made only marginal improvements, a concern which has prompted the department to initiate major overhaul in the way it handles mailing operations.
To arrest the slide in business, India Post has initiated the process of redesigning its existing mail network. It has introduced innovations such as radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology in mail processing for better tracking of mail bags and articles to draw high-end and urban mail customers.
In the 11th plan period (2007-12), the department has undertaken measures to improve the quality of mail operations, including automation of mail processing activities, induction of dedicated freighter aircraft for transmission of mail and restructuring of existing mail network.
"These new initiatives are expected to result in better quality of service which in turn, would help the department in increasing mail traffic and revenue," said the official, requesting anonymity. The department recently conducted a customer satisfaction survey at a select few top-tier urban centres. The department during the current fiscal is expected to generate revenues of Rs 6,956 crore, way below its estimated working expenses of more than Rs 10,552 crore.
The department's inability to arrest its declining revenues has come under criticism from the Parliament as well. "We strongly recommend analysis of the position and taking up of effective steps to increase the revenue receipts particularly when the working expenses of the department are increasing year after year," said a Parliamentary Standing Committee report.
Source: Economic Times 27 Dec-2010
Secretary General NFPE