BJP, Congress lock horns over scrapping of tribunal in HP

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Shimla, Jul 14, (UNI) Three Himachal Pradesh ministers today launched a scathing attack on the Congress over the scrapping of the HP State Administrative Tribunal (HPSAT), saying the decision was taken following its failure to dispose off the cases speedily.

The decision was taken as it had over 16800 applications pending at the time of its scrapping, besides 24,000 cases that were pending since its inception in 1986, PWD Minister Gulab Singh Thakur, Education Minister Ishwar Dass Dhiman and Health Minister Rajiv Bindal said in a joint press release here.

They said for all these years the tribunal was only issuing stays, which was not only burdening the state government, but was stalling the development process too.

During its over 22 years existence, the HPSAT had not taken any concreate decision regarding service matters or provided any relief to the state employees, they asserted.

Besides, they said, the decision was taken after due consultations with legal experts and Union Labour and Law Departments after the tribunal had failed to fulfill its objectives.

Refuting Congress leaders' statements that the tribunal was scrapped following large number of stays issued by it, they said the decision was a part of the administrative process and was taken in the interests of the employees.

The issue of scrapping the tribunal was also brought before the Vidhan Sabha in 2000, they said, while rubbishing former chief minister Virbhadra Singh's assertions on mass transfers, terming them as ''a normal administrative process''.

Criticising the previous government, the ministers said it was strange that those who never cared about the welfare of employees were now showing concern for them.

Reiterating the present government's commitment towards the welfare of the employees, they said the state government has urged the Centre to set up High Court bench at Dharamshala, besides increasing the number of High Court Judges for the speedy disposal of the cases.

UNI AS HS JS1949

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