Disposal rate low as no infrastructure to conduct hearings online: CAT

Topics Coronavirus | Lockdown

The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), which adjudicates service-related matters of central government employees, is facing difficulties in holding hearings during the lockdown due to a lack of infrastructure for video conferencing, according to an official communique.

The government had imposed the 21-day lockdown from March 25 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus that has claimed 239 lives and infected 7,447 people so far in the country.

With the imposition of the lockdown, it became impossible for the tribunal's benches to function as neither advocates, nor CAT employees were in a position to attend work, it said.

The option to conduct hearings through video conferencing was not available firstly because the necessary equipment was not in place and secondly, it was not possible to procure it in view of the lockdown, the Personnel Ministry said in the statement issued on Saturday.

It has always been the endeavour of the principal bench of the CAT and its benches across the country to dispose of as many cases as possible and to function to the satisfaction of the persons who approach the tribunal for remedies, it said.

As a matter of fact, the disposal rate even up to the month of February had been phenomenal, the statement said. With the outbreak of the coronavirus, the sittings were arranged adhering to social distancing norms, it said.

However, even that became impossible in view of the steps taken by the government from March 22 onwards, the statement said.

The principal bench, in fact, was scheduled to be on a mini-vacation from April 2 to April 12, it said.

The further course of action would be decided depending on the steps which the government would take in respect of the period from April 15 onwards. Even if there exists the slightest possibility to conduct the courts, the same would be availed, the statement said.

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