Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Sep 10:
The state government’s move to abolish the Odisha Administrative Tribunal (OAT) has run into stiff opposition from government employees as well as members of the SAT Bar Association.
While government employees apprehend that their problems will increase with the abolition of OAT, the SAT Bar Association has already embarked on agitation opposing the government’s move.
The cabinet had given its stamp of approval to the state government’s in-principle decision to abolish the OAT, earlier known as the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT), and approach the Centre for its approval on Wednesday.
Once OAT is abolished, the government has proposed to transfer the cases under it to the Odisha High Court.
However, government employees contend that if one is not satisfied with the High Court’s decision, he/she will have to move the Supreme Court, which will be an expensive affair and will not be possible on part of everyone. The employees apprehend that since the High Court is already overburdened with a huge number of cases, disposal of their cases may get further delayed.
“If we lost the case in the OAT, we used to move the High Court for relief. Abolition of OAT will surely create a lot of difficulties,” said Durgash Meher, a state government employee from Nuapada who was here in connection with a case at the OAT.
“Thousands of cases are pending in the High Court. From one date to the next, it may take four months or six months or even a year. In case of High Court’s verdict going against us, we don’t have the resources to challenge it in the Supreme Court which apparently is expensive and time-consuming,” said another government employee who had come from Kakatpur.
On the other hand, the SAT Bar Association has called the government’s decision as ‘unfortunate’ at a time when OAT’s own building built at great expense is on the verge of becoming functional.
“We are requesting all bar associations, including the bar association of the State Tribunal, Bhubaneswar to cooperate with us. CAT bar association will resort to cease work in our support tomorrow,” said Laxmiprasad Dwibedi, joint secretary SAT Bar Association.
The SAT Bar Association at Cuttack resorted to cease work today and has given a call for cease work tomorrow too.
OAT was set up in 1986 to provide legal relief to state government employees. Since then, a total 2, 66,911 cases have been filed in the tribunal till date of which 2, 8, 0677 have been disposed of.