Monday, February 06, 2017

CAT to recruit 14 Administrative Members; but the maths of maximum tenure and upper age don’t add up

CENTRAL Administrative Tribunal (CAT), which adjudicates disputes of government employees with regard to recruitment, promotion and other service conditions, will recruit 14 new administrative members during 2017. But the mathematics related to maximum tenure and the age of eligible candidates, as mentioned in the vacancy circular issued by the DoPT on February 3, actually don’t add up. Sample this:
According to rules, a person shall not be qualified for appointment as an Administrative Member unless he or she has held for at least two years the post of secretary to the government of India or equivalent, or held a post of additional secretary to the Government of India for at least five years. This means, officers who will be eligible to apply for the post will be aged somewhere between 55 to 60 years, if not more. Now, another rule says, an Administrative Member in the CAT shall hold office for five years, extendable by another term of five years provided that "no Member shall hold office as such after he has attainted the age of sixty-five years".
In other words, one can have a tenure of 10 years with an upper age of 65 years. But here comes the mathematical fallacy: How many IAS officers are there who have completed two years of service as GoI secretary but are still aged below 55 years? And for that matter, how many officers below the age of 55 years complete five years of service as additional secretary in the Government of India? And even if a very young bright administrative officer does that feat, will he or she apply to be an Administrative Member of the CAT? 
So, the simple maths say, a GoI secretary with two years of experience or for that matter a GoI additional secretary with five years of experience, can’t have a 10-year-tenure as CAT’s Administrative Member, as 65 years being the upper age. 
Maybe, DoPT is banking on the phrase "as such" when it says "no Member shall hold office as such after he has attainted the age of sixty-five years" in making the upper age limit flexible.
As retired officers are also eligible to apply for this post, most of the applicants are usually either retired officers or those nearing retirement, thereby making this rule of "two tenures (10 years) but below the age of 65 years", redundant. Also, desirable qualifications include quasi-judicial experience in dealing with service matters and laws, in turn will also reduce the number of applicants. 
The last date of application for this round of 14 vacancies of Administrative Members is March 27, 2017.


  1. fact remains that administrative members suffer from trust deficit as employees dont have faith in their judgements. the tribunals should not have administrative members and they should have only judicial members in cat. a secretary retiring from a ministry can not be expected to remain neutral and will always defend the wrong actions of his predecesser and successer.