In this regard, the Division Bench of the Madras High Court, headed by the Chief Justice, had asked the Chairperson of the IPAB, Justice Prabha Sridevan, to submit a report on the infrastructure and resources which had been available to the IPAB. In response to this request from the Madras High Court, Justice Prabha Sridevan submitted a detailed 13 pages report along with 36 pages of annexures detailing the state of affairs at the IPAB. (The report can be accessed over here, a few pages are missing, we’ll try and put up a better copy soon) Some of the important points raised by Justice Sridevan in her report are:
• The government has failed to conduct a ‘judicial impact assessment’ to assess the resources required by the IPAB;
• That the IPAB is currently functioning out of an office of only 5500 sq. ft. despite requiring over 20,000 sq. ft. as per the CPWD norms;
• That the pay scales of the non-judicial staff at the IPAB are below the pay-scales fixed for the staff of other tribunals. The IPAB is therefore being discriminated against by the Government;
• That there is an urgent requirement to create several more posts at the IPAB to assist the judicial members in deciding cases;
• That the 6th Pay Commission recommendations have not been implemented with respect to the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the tribunal.
The Division Bench after hearing brief submissions from Senior Advocate Arvind Datar, counsel for the petitioner and the amicus curiae Senior Advocate P.S. Raman, passed orders directing the State of Tamil Nadu and the Union of India to report on a new location with sufficient space for housing the IPAB. The matter has now been posted for September 29th, 2011.
I strongly recommend reading Justice Prabha Sridevan’s report. It is incredibly detailed and it is very clearly supports the arguments that were raised in the PIL.
(P.S. A big thank you to Advocates Ananth Padmanabhan, Vineet Subramani and Snior Advocate Mr. Arvind Datar for all the effort that went into preparing for the last hearing. We were hoping for the matter to be argued at the last hearing but the Court will now take up arguments on the constitutionality only at a later undecided date)