Odisha Administrative Tribunal plagued by vacancies, pending cases

Bhubaneswar: With retirement of the sole chairman of the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT), the future of the grievance redressal body for state government employees is hanging in balance. Official sources said that the SAT is now left with one member after the retirement of its chairman Manmohan Praharaj yesterday.

As per norms, the SAT needs to have quorum of eight members but it is now left with only one and there are around 74,000 pending cases. The sole member now is saddled with the responsibility of conducting hearings the at the tribunal’s principal bench in Bhubaneswar, regular bench in Cuttack and circuit benches in Sambalpur and Berhampur.

The members of SAT Bar Association alleged that Odisha government is neglecting its duties even though it had decided to abolish the State Administrative Tribunal. Owing to such callous attitude, nearly 7 lakh government employees are being deprived of getting justice, alleged bar members.

“Odisha government has not given any valid reason to abolish SAT. Such a decision has been taken only to deprive 7 lakh employees of justice,” said SAT Bar Association president, Anant Acharya.

Already several employees are running from pillar to post in Odisha to get justice. One such employee is Kamal Lochan Prusty who was working at the Khurda Collectorate. He had moved SAT after higher authorities placed him under suspension allegedly for no reason.

“I am now worried even though the matter is sub judice. I don’t know when the case will be heard,” said Prusty.
Sushant Dakua worked as a hair dresser at Chhatrapur 8th Battalion. However, after 17-years of service, he was allegedly dismissed instead of permanent appointment.

“I have been running from pillar to post to get justice. There are thousands of others like me who are waiting for justice. Government should retain SAT so that grievances of employees can be heard,” said Dakua.