Kirtipal Vs. The Union of India & Ors  INSC 201
(6 February 1996)
K.Ramaswamy, K.Hansaria B.L. (J) G.B. Pattanaik (J)
1996 AIR 1567 1996 SCC (2) 437 JT 1996 (2) 646 1996 SCALE (2)274
O R D
has raised a jurisdictional issue. The learned single Member of the Tribunal
has dismissed the petitioner's application in O.A. No.648/92 by order dated May 11, 1993. Learned counsel Shri D.K. Garg
relies upon Section 5 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 (for short, the
'Act') to contend that the single Member had no jurisdiction to decide the
matter relating to promotion of the petitioner. His case is that he joined the
Department as a seri-skilled Horkman and was later on appointed as Asstt. Store
Keeper against OEP vacancy in Dehradun. When juniors and also seniors to him
were promoted in OEP Section, he was singled out violating his right for
consideration for appointment to the higher post in OEP Section. The case of
the respondents is that he was in Maintenance Section, though at the initial
stage when OEP Section was a cell he had worked therein. Therefore, he was not
eligible to be considered. All others were transferred along with the posts to
the Ordnance factory while he remained in Maintenance Section. As a
consequence, they formed a class, the petitioner being a class apart.
question, therefore, is whether the learned single Member of the Tribunal was
competent to decide the matter.
of the view that the member had the jurisdiction to decide the matter for the
reason that it is not a case of initial lack of jurisdiction. Undoubtedly, the
Vice-Chairman of the Tribunal by operation of sub-Section (1) of Section 5 has
been empowered to classify classes of cases and make sitting arrangements of
benches for convenient disposal of cases; and he had ordered accordingly.
Sub-Section (2) enumerates various categories of cases which the members would
be competent to dispose of. When its member would dispose of which matter is
one of administrative convenience; it does not relate to his jurisdiction. Even
under Section 21 of the Civil Procedure Code objections relating to pecuniary
or territorial jurisdictional should be raised at the earliest and if the
parties omit to plead and raise the objection, at a later stage, unsuccessful
party would be precluded to raise lack of jurisdiction.
the Tribunal consists of several members, a bench consisting of a single member
may also be competent to dispose of certain matters. The matter having been
decided by him after considering the case on merits, it is no longer open to
the unsuccessful party to plead that the member had no jurisdiction to decide
the issue or that the order suffers from initial lack of jurisdiction. It may
be a case of improper disposal of the matter without touching the jurisdiction
of the member who decided the matter.
these circumstances, we do not think there is any lack of jurisdiction
warranting interference. The petition is accordingly dismissed.