Odisha government bends rules for reserved staff promotion- The New Indian Express www.newindianexpress.com

www.newindianexpress.com

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: It is a classic case in which the Home department bent the settled rules to facilitate speedier promotion to reserved category employees while in similar matters, it had denied promotion to many in the past citing the rule book.

The erroneous promotion of 50 Assistant Section Officers (ASOs) belonging to Scheduled Caste against the vacancy of 18 posts in the reserved slots on January 14, 2019 and accommodating the surplus 32 candidates against general category not only defies logic but also unsettles the post-based principles in the matter of promotion settled by the Supreme Court in the case of RK Sabharwal Vs State of Punjab and Others in 1995.

Even the Chief Minister Office (CMO) was misled by the Home department while recommending promotion of 113 ASOs (Gen 83 + SC 50) against different categories as per their rank in the merit list prepared by the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC).

While seeking approval of the CMO, the Home department said the recommendation of the departmental promotion committee (DPC) for promotion of ASOs to SOs is in conformity with the settled law and in consonance of the views of the Law, and ST and SC Development departments. But the fact is that the recommendation of DPC was violative of the apex court rulings and 2010 resolution of the Home department. 

The department came out with a resolution following order of the Chief Minister to put in place a clear guideline in regards to participation of reserved category candidates against unreserved (UR) posts.

In a similar situation, the Home department denied promotion to Sabita Singh, Desk Officer of the General Administration, to the post of Under Secretary in 2017 saying her promotion comes under the ambit of reservation and the same will be made on the basis of post-based principle.

Sabita, an ST candidate, moved the office of the Prime Minister in 2016 when her representation for promotion was turned down by the Home department due to non-availability of vacancy in the reserved category.“It is relevant to mention that reservation is limited to initial appointment and not in promotion grades. The State is not bound to make reservation for SC and ST in the matter of promotion,” said the March 27, 2017 order of the department.

However, if the State wishes to exercise the discretion and make such provision, it has to collect quantifiable date showing backwardness of the class and inadequacy of representation of that class in public employment, it added.

Both the cases of Sabita Singh and the promotion of 32 ASOs are identical as all of them were selected under rules of reservation and demanded promotion against UR posts.



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