SC notice to Centre on HC's jurisdiction over orders of AFT
The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the central government on a special leave petition (SLP) filed on allowing high courts to hear appeals against the judgments of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT).chandigarh Updated: Aug 03, 2015 20:40 IST
The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the central government on a special leave petition (SLP) filed on allowing high courts to hear appeals against the judgments of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT).
A March 2015 judgment of the apex court had barred the remedy of the high courts to ex-servicemen after orders had been issued by the AFT. After the SC order, the high courts had started disposing off appeals against the AFT orders.
Moreover, Section 31 of the AFT Act provides that appeals before the SC cannot be filed unless the case involves a "point of law of general public importance"; the SC has also held that issues such as pension, promotions, pay scales etc do not fall in the category of "public importance".
It has been submitted before the apex court in the present petition that the current state leaves litigants remediless against orders of the AFT because of the statutory bar of "general public importance" for approaching the SC. It was submitted that there was no vested right of appeal against AFT orders and there is no other way out, but for the HCs to entertain writs since the constitutional power of HC is preserved under Section 14 of the Act and the Fundamental Rights of the military community could not be diminished vis-a-vis civilians.
A similar controversy pertaining to the Central Administrative Tribunal had been addressed by a seven-judge Constitution Bench of the SC, wherein it was ruled that the SC could not become the first appellate court for such service matters and that challenges to tribunal decisions would be heard by the division benches of the high courts. It was also submitted that it was a known legal proposition that all tribunals being mere creations of the statute were subordinate to the writ jurisdiction of constitutional high courts.