THE ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2006

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The Administrative Tribunals (Amendment) Act, 2006 was enacted on December 29, 2006 in order make alterations to the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985. The principal Act was enacted to adjudicate service matters or recruitment and decide on disputes relating to persons working under the public services related with the Central or State Government within India or Government owned society or undertaking as per the provisions of Article 323 A of the Constitution of India. The Amendment Act amended Section 3 of the principal Act by substituting the word Chairman in place of the words Chairman and Vice-Chairman and the word Vice Chairman was deleted in Clause (ia). The Act altered the definition given to the term Vice Chairmen. Accordingly Vice Chairman includes an authorized member of suitable Government to carry out the managerial or administrative purposes in the locations where the Tribunal are established.

The Amendment Act, 2006 modified Section 4 of the 1985 Act which now provides that the agreement dealing with the Joint Administrative Tribunals shall be included with statements with respect to the decision of Chairman and other members and place of sitting and the expenditure of the tribunal etc shall be maintained. Hence, appointment of Vice Chairman was excluded from the purview of the provision. Under Section 5, the Central Government is under the duty to have consensus with the concerned State Government to authorize the members of the Administrative Tribunals of the State to act as the members of the Central Administrative Tribunal constituted in that State shall perform the functions accordingly. Here also, the power of the Vice Chairman is expelled to perform as the member of Central Administrative Tribunal. It can be concluded from the amendment made to Section 5 of the Act that, the post of Vice Chairman was completely discarded as a member of the Administrative Tribunal. But the powers and functions of judicial as well the administrative members shall remain unchanged.

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In addition, Section 6 of the Act was altered totally and new provision was included. Accordingly, a person can be chosen to the post of Chairman only if he is a High Court Judge or retired person but, a person to be selected as the Vice Chairman prior to the initiation of the Act shall be chosen to the post of Chairman if he has worked as Vice Chairman for a term of at least two years. Moreover, to be an administrative member, such person shall have experience in the post of Secretary to the Central Government or other services under the Indian Government or under the State and have received salary equivalent to that of the Government Secretary or has worked as Additional Secretary for the term prescribed under the Act. The persons under the All India Services shall also be eligible to be appointed as administrative member according to the terms specified in the Amendment Act. A person shall be appointed as the judicial member if he is working under the legal affairs department as Secretary of the Central Government or has held such other post in the legislative department. A member secretary under the Central law Commission shall also be appropriate to be appointed as a judicial member.

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The President shall discuss with the Chief Justice of Supreme Court before appointing the Chairman as well as the Administrative and judicial members of the Tribunal. The Chairman and the members of the Administrative Tribunals of the State shall be chosen after conferring with the Governor of the State. In the Joint Administrative Tribunal, the President is empowered to appoint the Chairman along with other members after concurring with the Governor of the concerned State. The Chairman is entitled to continue in his office till five years or his retirement age shall be sixty eight years. The terms of service to hold the post of Chairman shall be similar to that of High Court Judge. The powers with respect to finance as well as administration are also conferred under the Chairman.