The pendency of service matters before the High Courts and lower Courts became a pressing problem and it got the attention of Government. As early as 1969 a committee was set up by the Central Government under the Chairmanship of Mr. Justice Shaha of the Supreme Court to make ways and means for effective, expeditious and satisfactory disposal of matters relating to service disputes. The committee recommended for setting up of independent tribunals to handle pending cases before the Supreme Court and High Courts relating to service matters. The Administrative Reforms Commission also took note of this situation and recommended for setting up of Civil Service Tribunals to deal with cases of disciplinary action against government servants.
The need for establishment of Administrative Tribunals was first expressed by the Supreme Court in its judgment in RAMACHANDRAN SHANKAR DEVODHAR AND OTHERS v. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA reported in AIR 1974 SC 259. In that judgment the Hon’ble Supreme Court noticed alarming rise in number of cases pending in the Courts of law filed by Government officials agitating their grievances with regard to their service matters. The conference of the Chief Secretaries of the States in May 1976 also discussed the huge backlog of pending cases in Supreme Court and High Courts relating to service grievance of Government servants.
Keeping in view the above, the Parliament introduced Article 323A into the Constitution of India by way of 42nd Amendment authorizing the parliament to provide for law for the adjudication or trial by Administrative Tribunals of the disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public service and posted in connection with the affairs of the Union or of any State or of any local body or Authority within the territory of India or under the control of Government of India or any State Government or any Corporation owned or controlled by Government. Though the 42nd Amendment sown the seeds of Administrative Tribunals it did not fructify till 1985. In January 1985 both the houses of Parliament passed the bill and with the Presidential assent “The Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985” came into existence.
Karnataka State Administrative Tribunal was established on 06.10.1986 vide Notification of Government of India bearing No.A 11019/20/86-A dated 03.10.1986. The scheme of the Act in its original form excludes the jurisdiction of High Courts and other Courts subordinate to it with regard to service matters. However, Hon’ble Apex Court in L.Chandrakumar v. Union of India declared that the decision of Administrative Tribunals are amenable to appellate jurisdiction of Jurisdictional High Courts, w.e.f. 18.03.1997.