KATHMANDU, Oct 8: Upper house of the parliament has proposed dissolving the existing Administrative Court and creating Administrative Benches, one each, at all seven high courts to oversee the cases seen by the existing Administrative Court.
Making changes to a bill to amend the existing Administrative Court, the National Assembly has proposed dissolving the existing administrative court and assigning the high courts to create special benches to hear the cases related to civil servants.
“If the bill is endorsed from the lower house, the Administrative Court will cease to exist. The cases related to transfer, promotion and removal of civil servants or other related issues will be assigned to a special bench at the high courts in all seven provinces,” said Chairperson of the Bills Committee of the upper House.
A judge at the concerned high court will chair the administrative bench and another judge at the same court will be a member on the recommendations of the Judicial Council. Likewise a retired senior government official or expert in the concerned field will be a member of the court. In total, the bench will have three members.
Lower house, however, can make changes to any bill forwarded by the upper house if necessary. Earlier, the government had tabled the bill at the National Assembly in June proposing to expand the jurisdiction of the existing Administrative Court by assigning cases related to transfers, promotions and departmental actions concerning the government employees and public sector employees except for security agencies to the special body. The court established in 1987 has limited jurisdiction of overseeing only the cases related to departmental actions against civil servants under the health and parliamentary services.
The new bill has also provisioned assigning cases of transfers, promotions and departmental actions related to teachers, corporation employees, provincial services and other public sector institutions where the government has more than 50 percent stake, to the administrative benches. The Supreme Court had long been asking the government to increase the jurisdiction of the Administrative Court to ease the workload at other courts.
Speaking at a function in Kathmandu last week, Chief Justice Om Prakash Mishra, however, expressed his discontent over the changes made in the bill. Incumbent and former justices also expressed worries that the proposed arrangement will again increase the workload of the high courts.
But, Minister for Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal however claimed that the new arrangement will in fact, expand the Administrative Court to provinces. The constitution has stated that special courts can be formed at Article 152.