State

JKPSC proving nightmare for aspiring candidates with its immoral functioning

Golden yug
[ April 14, 2017 ] J&K Public Service Commission has always been in news for wrong reasons. Serious allegations of favouritism and nepotism have all along marred the reputation of this prestigious institution. The enormous delay in conduct of various competitive civil services examinations and then the subsequent delay in announcing the results is a norm of sorts for the commission. As a result, many eligible candidates are denied respectable employment for no fault of theirs. Not only that, even the postings in the commission – especially of the retired bureaucrats -by the political dispensations have raised eyebrows many a times. Engaging Hakeem Ghulam Geelani, Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat, Chuni Lal PS Sodhi as consultants in PSC respectively and still continuing till date and drawing Rs 54,349, Rs 42,339, Rs 51,495, Rs 41,786 respectively in addition to their pension after retiring from the same department where they have been reengaged besides perks and several incentives what a VIP is obliged to. However despite their ambiguous style of working, Hakim Gulam Jeelani, Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat reengaged as consultants vide order No. 16-PSC of 2017 dated 31-01-2017 for further period of six months w.e.f 02-02-2017 besides two others namely Chuni Lal PS Sodhi were also reengaged as consultants in PSC. It deserves mentioning here that Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat was reengaged very next day after his superannuation on 31-03-2012 and till date he is continuing vide order No 16-PSC dated 31-01-2017.But same was done without taking any reference of meetings with the members. Following which three members, PSC, KB Jandial, MH Samoon and JA Makhdoomi wrote to Chairman jointly vide letter No. PSC/HM/JAM2012/214-16 Dated 14-09-2012 but nothing was done in that regard also. But strangely and deliberately re-engagement of employees continued unabated vide order Nos. 307/308-PSC of 2012 by then Chairman, MA Bhat dated 01-10-2012 and in latest order No. 125-PSC of 2015 dated10-08-2015 and 137-PSC of 2015 dated 19-08-2015 Hope that present Chairman Aslam Salam Deva and members PSC after the publication of this news item will go through all the loop holes in the Commission and accordingly will take desired steps to retain the credibility of the Commission which has lost its glory with its functioning for decades together. Despite persistent protests by political parties and students alike, no change of any improvement and addressing the issue of discrimination that has always been alleged by Jammu region candidates in selection have not been addressed. In this regard a writ petition is already filed in High Court vide Writ OWP No.892/2016, MP No. 1/2016 by Shubham Sharma and others challenging persistent reengagement of Hakim Gulam Jeelani, Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat in PSC. J&K Public Service Commission (PSC) has been in news again for its alleged favouritism and lack of transparency. Mainstream media as well as social media has been criticizing the commission for its wrongdoings. While the unemployment graph in Jammu and Kashmir continues to swell, the state government’s re-employment policy for ‘favourite’ civil servants is furthering joblessness in the state and also telling upon the health of administration. This has been going on despite the fact that reengaged persons are infamous for leaking question papers, using all kinds of tricks to hoodwink the students and most importantly running the system without following established procedure. This is, interestingly, notwithstanding a clear-cut cabinet order of 2007 which says that “re-employment of a retired government servant shall be for a maximum of one year”—something invisible on ground. Later new Govt under late Chief Minister Mufti Mohd Sayeed issued an order vide No 384-GAD of 2015 dated 17-03-2015 revoked all the reemployment orders issued by various Govt departments, PSUs, Boards, Autonomous Bodies. Despite this from high-ranking bureaucrats to lower rung employees, the Jammu and Kashmir Government hasn’t shunted the practice of picking up its “favourite and influential” officials for re-engagement, extensions or re-employment. The phenomenon, which has drawn severe flak from civil society and political circles, is widespread in different departments and government-constituted commissions and other statutory bodies. Sources identified the reemployed officials as Hakim Gulam Jeelani, Mushtaq Ahmad, Chuni Lal Sharma and P S Sodhi. They were re-engaged soon after new PSC chairman Aslam Salam Deva and members took oath of office on July 28 last as special consultants. Mushtaq had joined PSC as a junior assistant and retired in April 2012 as under-secretary. While Hakim retired as secretary from SSB about 5 years back, Chuni Lal retired in March 2014 and Sodhi in October 2012 as private secretary to PSC member MH Samoon. Since their superannuation, all of them are being re-employed by PSC after every six months. After six months of job, they are given a day’s break and then re-employed for another six months. “This has been continuing since their retirement,” sources alleged. They are still continuing their services despite clear cut directions from the Govt to revoke such services with immediate effect. This issue of re-employment has also been raised by some ex-PSC members from time to time. As per rules and regulations such engagements and appointments, even temporary appointments can’t be done without the approval of the governor of the state. These appointments are in violation of Regulation 12 of J&K PSC (conditions of service) regulations, 1957”. Sources, however, alleged that some of the re-engaged retired officials who had retired from the same department were reengaged again were being paid emoluments from the revolving fund generated from the sale of forms. Hakeem Ghulam Jeelani, Ex secretary SSRB drawing monthly emolument Rs 54349, Mustaq Ahmad Bhat, Ex under secretary PSC Rs 42339, Chuni Lal Ex private secretary PSC Rs 51495 and PS Sodhi Ex private secretary being paid Rs 41786 as monthly emolument getting their superannuation after giving services till the age of 58 . After their reengagement, they are also drawing their pension from Govt treasury respectively. Except Geelani who has completed near about 10 years after his reengagement in PSC, the other three have completed five, four and three years respectively besides utilizing all the facilities which PSC provides to its employees be it accommodation and high profile management of their visits mostly using air service for their visits. They are the part and parcel of PSC office Jammu as they know the loop holes and also the ways and means to generate funds for their families.It is also astonishing to find that an amount of Rs 5,00,566 was consumed from office expenses budget on refreshment from March 2009 to December 2014 under major head 2051 PSC vide treasury voucher Nos 20, 35, 11, 02, 15, 19, 22, 61, 09, 24 and 22. It may also be mentioned that the state government makes annual budgetary allocation of funds to PSC under different heads, which included professional and special services charges and outsourcing of upkeep. The practice to grant extensions to officials is in brazen violation of the 2007 government order clearly stating that “extension in government service and or re-employment of a retired government servant shall be strictly for a maximum of one year.” But on ground, some officials, who happen to be close to power corridors, are in service years after their retirement. In 2007, the GAD had issued an order with regard to the policy of extensions and reemployment of officers. The order No. 376-GAD of 2007 read that reemployment of a retired government servant shall be for a maximum of one year. Since then, a number of verbal assurances were also made with regard to discouraging the trend of granting reemployment to retired officials. But the government order and the reassurances have fallen flat on ground. Senior government officials admit that no fixed criteria, based on merit and contribution to state, is followed for re-engaging people. “In the name of extension in services/re-employment future prospects of in-service officials are being hampered and job opportunities for the unemployed youth blocked,” says a senior government officer, wishing anonymity. “The 2007 cabinet order has been very brazenly flouted. On the one hand, government is crying hoarse over unemployment, but on the other, officials are reemployed every now and then.”Officials say the trend to reemploy officials leads to corruption. “There is a clout that these officials happen to have formed around their offices. This is, in one way or the other, leading to instances of corruption and favouritism, which needs to be discouraged for better governance,” said the official. “The Government must give chance to new officials to assume key positions which have been occupied by retired officers. That is the way to remove deadwood and rejuvenate administration.”Officials said the retired officials are seldom held accountable. “They don’t have anything at stake. They resort to wrongdoings and get away with them which is not the case with in-service officials who can be suspended, terminated for any irregularities. Their promotions can also get hampered,” the official said. In recent years corruption and malpractices in job recruitment exams conducted by State Public Service Commissions are on the rise. A great responsibility lies on the Head of the Department and Public Undertaking for checking bribery and corruption in their respective organizations. Corruption is an all pervasive phenomenon, which knows no boundaries and barriers. There is a deluge of complaints being received by the Govt. and the State Vigilance Organization, alleging omission and commission by Govt. officers. In a number of complaints, allegations are mainly about violation of codal formalities in the award of contracts in Govt. works, purchases, appointments, promotions and transfer, denial of services by the Govt. Departments etc. As per the information supplied by J&K Bank, an amount of Rs 272348777 has been generated from all types of forms by the PSC from 01-04-2009 to 31-07-2015 without any audit of amount whether spent on priority sector or spent on the sweet wish of concerned. However the PSC generated revenue through sales of forms and other sources worth Rs 44114165 from 1-8-2015 to 31-07-2016.This is being done even if when all the Govt departments and autonomous bodies are subjected to maintain audit of funds but PSC seems exception. Chairman of J&K Public Service Commission (JKPCS) Chairman PSC has to probe into this issue so that black-sheep and touts within the PSC are identified, exposed and prosecuted. It is surprising to note that despite a letter addressed to Governor by then Member Establishment, PSC, JA Mukhdoomi vide No PS/PSC/Conf-12/301 Dated 28-12-2012 who demitted the office On 2nd Jan 2013 disclosed in the letter that he came to know an unsavoury practice of the secretary PSC, other officers and a host of employees even safai karamcharis of drawing money as refreshment charges out of office expenses as well as examination revolving fund. He was shocked to find that a huge amount of Rs 21.45 lacs had been drawn from ERF from April 2011 to Feb 2012. Another serious matter which caused concern to majority of members was select leak of details of the result of the competent exams to some of the members before interview that enabled them to manipulate the consensus of the award at the interview in the favour of some of their favourite candidates. There has been protected correspondence between the members and the chairman. As the Chairman had assiduously kept three contractual/consultants who were suspected to be behind the selective leak of the results in the past. Notwithstanding that it was decided to discourage reengagement of retired employees as a policy. The sad part is that those who have been reengaged have no considerable educational background and have given only time bound promotions to reach at their respectable posts. It is quite understandable from the protests of aspiring candidates who allege discrimination when their future is in hands of such persons who had no spirit of competition but even then reached top posts, so they can’t understand the competitive spirit of candidates who spends day and nights together to earn name and flame. Surprisingly the Commission is duty bound to seek permission from Governor in all the important decisions with regard to engagements, reengagements utilization of funds but the PSC has oversighted the directions of Governor and is being run unilaterally and in accordance with the selection of choiced candidates. Xxxxxxx