JAMMU: In a major decision, the Jammu and Kashmir State Accountability Commission (SAC) has sought from the Legislative Assembly Secretariat entire regard pertaining to illegal appointments made by three former Speakers and copies of the relevant rules for detailed examination before proceedings further in this much-publicized case.
Reports in the Legislative Assembly Secretariat said that in compliance to the earlier directions of the State Accountability Commission, Deputy Secretary Gh Mohi-ud-Din Bhat appeared in person before the Full Commission in the recent past and submitted that there has been precedence of making appointments by the Speakers and nothing wrong was committed in 37 appointments under question.
This stand was contrary to the earlier one whereby the Deputy Secretary had conveyed to the State Accountability Commission that the case was sub-judice in the High Court, Jammu Wing.
The plea of precedence is unfounded as State Vigilance Organization in its detailed report already submitted to the State High Court has mentioned that recourse of precedence was not legally sustainable as in the year 2001 and 2005 the posts were put to advertisement before making appointments, reports said.
After considering the submissions made by the Deputy Speaker, the Full Commission comprising Justice B A Khan (Chairperson) and Justice J P Singh and Justice B A Kirmani (Members) found it appropriate to have detailed examination of the record pertaining to the appointments made by three former Speakers.
Accordingly, the Commission has asked the Legislative Assembly Secretariat to furnish entire record vis-à-vis these 37 appointments and the rules governing the subject so as to decide future course of action, reports said, adding, in compliance to the directives of the Accountability Commission, the Assembly Secretariat has started the exercise and record will be placed before the Full Commission within next few days.
As per the record furnished by the Assembly Secretariat during the course of enquiry by the State Vigilance Organization, 28 appointments were made by the then Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone (presently MLA of National Conference), 5 by the then Speaker Tara Chand (former MLA) and 4 by the then Speaker Mubarak Gul (another sitting MLA of National Conference).
Had there been seriousness on the part of Legislative Assembly Secretariat to bring an end to the precedence of making appointments by the Speakers it would have updated J&K Assembly Secretariat (Recruitment and Conditions of Services) Rules, 1959 so as to ensure utmost transparency in appointments, independent observers said, adding, dilly-dallying approach in this regard clearly establishes that nobody wants to make the appointments process transparent by clearly defining the mode of selections/appointments.
It is pertinent to mention here that State Vigilance Organization had suggested in its report before the High Court that Government ought to have framed proper rules/selection process and a selection agency for such recruitments in Assembly Secretariat ought to have been put in place for proper selection.
Subscribing the views of the State Vigilance Organization, observers said that in the absence of Rules regarding mode of appointments, the law laid down in this behalf makes it obligatory to adopt the procedure of open and fair competition by putting these posts to the advertisement thereby giving equal opportunity to the eligible candidates as provided under Constitution.
The competence of appointing authority doesnt mean going against the principles of natural justice as equal opportunity is to be provided to everyone-all eligible candidates for any post which is Constitutional and Fundamental right guaranteed to all citizens in the matters of employment to any office of the State, they said.
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