Civil Services Reforms

In news: Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

  • The Allahabad High Court clarified the appellate jurisdiction concerning orders issued by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in contempt proceedings.
  • The court ruled that appeals against CAT contempt orders must be filed exclusively before the Supreme Court under Section 19 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.

What is Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)?

  • The CAT is a specialized quasi-judicial body in India established under Article 323-A of the Constitution of India.
  • Its primary function is to adjudicate disputes and complaints related to recruitment and service conditions of government employees.
  • CAT was set up to provide a speedy and inexpensive remedy to government employees in matters concerning their service conditions and employment disputes.

Establishment of CAT:

  • The Administrative Tribunals Act in 1985 enacted by the Parliament authorizes the central government to establish Central Administrative Tribunal and the State Administrative Tribunals.
  • There are 17 Benches and 21 Circuit Benches in the Central Administrative Tribunal all over India.

Jurisdiction of CAT:

  • The Administrative Tribunal is distinguishable from the ordinary courts with regard to its jurisdiction and procedure.
  • It exercises jurisdiction only about the service matters of the parties covered by the Act.
  • CAT exercises jurisdiction over all service matters concerning the following:
  1. A member of any All-India Service
  2. A person appointed to any civil service of the Union or any civil post under the Union
  3. A civilian appointed to any defence services or a post connected with defence

Services NOT Covered:

The following members are NOT covered under the jurisdiction of CAT:

  1. Defence forces, Officers,
  2. Staff of the Supreme Court and
  3. Secretarial staff of the Parliament.


  • The CAT is guided by the principles of natural justice in deciding cases and is NOT bound by the procedure, prescribed by the Civil Procedure Code.
  • It is empowered to frame its own rules of procedure and practice.
  • Under Section 17 of the Administrative Tribunal Act, 1985, the Tribunal has been conferred with the power to exercise the same jurisdiction and authority in respect of contempt of itself as a High Court.


  • The CAT comprises of a chairman, vice- chairman and other members who are appointed by the President of India.
  • The membership of CAT is filled by members from judicial and administrative fields.
  • The term of the service is 5 years or until the age of 65 years for chairman and vice- chairmen; 62 years for members, whichever is earlier.
  • The chairman, vice-chairman or any other member may address his resignation to the President in between his term of office.



2019: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) which was established for redressal of grievances and complaints by or against central government employees nowadays is exercising its power as an independent judicial authority. Explain.


Practice MCQ:

Consider the following statements about the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT):

1.    The CAT is a specialized quasi-judicial body.

2.    It adjudicates disputes and complaints related to recruitment and service conditions of government employees.

3.    Personnel of the armed forces are covered in the jurisdiction of CAT.

How many of the above statements is/are correct?

(a) One

(b) Two

(c) Three

(d) None

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