Set up State Transport Appellate tribunal within a month: HC

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Shimla, Dec 23
Himachal Pradesh High court passed an order on Wednesday directing state to set up a Transport Appellate Tribunal in the state within a month.
The Division bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Sabina passed this order while hearing number of petitions pending before the high court to discharge the duties of the Transport Appellate Tribunal .
Court passed aspersions on the delay caused by the state for compliance of its Dec 2020 order for not setting up the said tribunal while adjourning further hearing on the matter till Feb 25, 2022.
“It is quite surprising that the State Government , despite specific orders repeatedly passed by this Court, has failed to send the proposal for setting up independent Tribunal .”bench held.
The Court has taken note of the fact that the State Government has not so far taken any decision to set up an independent State Transport Appellate Tribunal and has been delaying the matter for the last four years.
Passing order the bench held that “having regard to the series of orders passed , this Court now deems it appropriate to positively direct the – State to finally notify the constitution of the Tribunal within one month and also provide the paraphernalia including building , necessary staff and other infrastructure , as per the workload available with the Tribunal, within a period of one month thereafter.”
The bench said in the six page order that state had filed a purported compliance report, stating therein that a meeting for setting up of Transport Appellate Tribunal in the State was held on 21st December, 2020, under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary and also attended by various officers of state.
The matter was again posted on April  6, 2020 , but due to restricted functioning of the Court during COVID – 19 pandemic , it was not listed and has been listed on Wednesday .
State informed the court that one of the options could be to confer appropriate powers on the Waqf Tribunal , so that , it could discharge the duties of the Transport Appellate Tribunal .
In another meeting held on Feb 15, 2021 under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary  it had decided to create an exclusive and separate Transport Appellate Tribunal.
Currently , 55 cases are pending with the Waqf Tribunal for adjudication, out of which, 38 cases are of civil nature and 17 cases Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes matter .

The Secretary ( Law ) also informed the court  that at present about 101 cases are pending for adjudication before the State Transport Appellate Tribunal .

Earlier to this order  HC has also passed orders on August 26, 2019 and March  5.2020 clearly observed that the Law Secretary couldn’t discharge the quasi judicial functions of the Tribunal and rightly so because for him to preside over the Tribunal while simultaneously working as Law Secretary of the State could give rise conflict of interest because he may have to in that capacity deal with matter involving interest of State.

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