The people of the Sub-Continent had shown their interest to establish a friendly administration but this dream could never come true till the creation of independent States. After independence the need for administrative reforms was felt much strongly than before because the independence raised the expectations and hopes of the people for a better standard of living. The colonial style administration was no longer capable of handling the new task and functions in the national developments. Thus administrative reforms were seen to be the answer to the countless problems of public sector.
Keeping in view the overall internal situation of the country with special reference to the unsatisfactory performance of its administrative organ, the government of Pakistan introduced a number of administrative reforms. Though the government has introduced and implemented various reforms in different fields but the present work is focused on administrative reforms with special reference to the establishment and functioning of Administrative Tribunals.
The major steps towards the reformation of public administration were initiated by Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto when he constituted a high powered committee in April 1972, to chalk out a programme of Administrative Reforms in the light of new requirements. The committee after examining various issues pertinent to public administration, in particular to the problems of civil servants, submitted its recommendations. Among other recommendations the committee suggested that Administrative Tribunals were to be setup as forums where Governmental officials could get their grievances redressed.
In pursuance of the aforementioned recommendations of the committee, the framers of the 1973 Constitution introduced a provision i.e. Article 212 in the Constitution, which empowered the Parliament for the establishment of Administrative Tribunals in the country, which would have exclusive jurisdiction in the matters related to civil servants.
In compliance with the Constitutional directives the Government of Pakistan promulgated an Act, called the 'Service Tribunals Act, 1973'. Subsequently the same Act was adopted by the provinces for the establishment of Provincial Service Tribunals. The Administrative Tribunals created under the Act are exercising exclusive jurisdiction in matters relating to the terms and conditions of civil servants. The Tribunal that deals with the matters of Federal civil servants is called Federal Service Tribunal and the Tribunals dealing with the matters of Provincial civil servants, are Provincial Service Tribunals.
The Federal and Provincial Service Tribunals have no worth mentioning difference because the Service Tribunal Acts, the Rules for procedure and the mode of proceedings are identical. In this context, the research study is designed to evaluate the performance of Federal Service Tribunal in Pakistan and hence covers the whole network of Service Tribunals currently functioning in the country.
Since the establishment of Administrative Tribunals in Pakistan the pragmatic study has not been conducted so far, now through this work an attempt has been made to investigate whether the goals envisaged at the time of the establishment of Service Tribunal have been reasonably achieved or not? It is also tried to identify the causes of structural and functional shortcomings of the present arrangements from the view points of experts and various stake holders. To get the views of those experts who had closed concern with the proceedings of Service Tribunals a semi-structured interviews schedule was used.
In addition to the above respondents, data was also collected from aggrieved employees, senior lawyers and ex-Members of the Federal Service Tribunal. The data so collected was arranged and treated with simple statistical tools for meaningful conclusion.
Besides literature review some of the tribunal's cases on various issues, reported in Law Journals, were also selected for study. For this purpose one hundred cases were selected for the period from January, 2000 to December, 2003 (four years). From these cases, later on, twenty cases were selected for brief discussion in chapter-6, Part-II of the thesis.
The collected data reveals that majority of the experts (legal practitioners) and the aggrieved employees are not satisfied with the overall performance of Federal Service Tribunal. Taking each point of the problems separately, an overwhelming majority of the experts show their satisfaction upon the provision of cheap justice. But on this point the opinion of the aggrieved employees is completely opposite to that of experts i.e. they showed dissatisfaction. Similarly on the point of speedy justice, a simple majority of the experts showed agreement with the statement that Federal Service Tribunal is the forum that provides speedy justice, as compared to Civil Courts, but at the same time majority of the appellants showed dissatisfaction over the speedy disposal of appeals. In response to the query about the attitude of Tribunal towards the delinquent public officials, an overwhelming majority of the respondents complained of undue leniency. The data further revealed that the Tribunal is too weak to implement its decisions or to take any action against the faulted public officials. Almost all the experts documented their opinion against the prevailing procedure of appointment of the Chairman and Members.
At the end of the study, some suggestions have been put forth for overcoming the weaknesses of the system and improving the performance of Federal Services Tribunal.