The Supreme Court has today issued notice in a plea challenging an order of the Odisha High Court upholding the notification issued by the Central Government abolishing the Orissa Administrative Tribunal.
A three judges bench of Justice L Nageswara Rao, Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice BR Gavai said that the question of law needs to be decided.
The petition has been filed by the Odisha Administrative Tribunal Bar Association stating, "the Centre could not invoke Section 21 of GCA (General Clauses Act) to do indirectly that which was prohibited to be done directly under the AT Act (Administrative Tribunal Act), and by upholding the illegal and arbitrary decision of the government, the impugned judgment is liable to be set aside."
Senior Advocate NS Nadkarni submitted, "The question here is the power, can a government in an executive way exercise its power abolishing a Tribunal. The notification was issued invoking Section 21 of the General Clauses Act when the Parent Act i.e. the Administrative Tribunal Act implicitly denied the exercise of such power."
It was contended in the plea that the court had, "overlooked the fact that if the OAT is abolished it would defeat the very purpose for which the Parliament had inserted Article 323A by way of the 42nd Amendment, i.e. if all cases were to be transferred to the Hon’ble High Court, and status quo ante were to be established, the strain on the Hon’ble High Court would be manifold and the objective of the 42nd Amendment would be entirely frustrated."
"The Respondents have failed to conduct a judicial impact assessment, and failed to provide an opportunity to be heard to the litigants and the Petitioner Association," the plea added.
However, the bench after a short discussion issued notice and said that we'll consider it, while posting the matter for hearing after 8 weeks.
Case Title: Odisha Administrative Tribunal Bar Association Vs. Union of India & Ors.