Divisional recruitment panels soon to fill SC/ST vacancies

DH News Service

The State government will constitute divisional recruitment committees towards filling the vacancies pertaining to Scheduled Castes & Tribes.

Announcing this to press persons here today, Public Works Minister Dharam Singh stated that the government in 1984 had taken 1,800 monthly rated establishment (MRE) engineers (on daily wages). "But since there was no requisite number of SC/ST engineers then, the government had appointed most of these engineers from the general category. Only 35 were from the SC/ST category," he added.

When the later governments thought of conducting special drives to fill the backlog of vacancies, a Supreme Court judgment in 1992 stated that recruitment drives for SC/ST could not cross the 50 per cent mark of the total vacant posts. Consequently, the 81st Amendment to the Constitution cleared the way as it stated that the 50 per cent mark would not be applicable while filling vacancies, he said.

After this amendment, the government began the process of filling the backlog and the Department of Personnel Administration & Reforms (DPAR) and the Law Department were instructed to go into the issue. "But as the file came to the State Cabinet, the SC/ST Unemployed Engineers' Union sat on a hunger-strike in front of my house here demanding that the backlog ought to be filled," he said.

Consequently, after having a meeting with the DPAR Secretary, a circular was sent to all the department secretaries on March 16, directing the departments to take appropriate steps in identifying the backlog of vacancies and filling them, he added. Mr Singh stated that another meeting was held in Bangalore on March 31, comprising Social Welfare Minister Kagodu Thimmappa, Housing Minister Qamur-ul-Islam, himself, and secretaries of PWD, law, irrigation and DPAR to chalk out measures to fill the vacancies.

At a meeting on April 3, it was thought that as it would be very cumbersome to fill all the posts, it was decided to constitute divisional recruitment committees under the chairmanship of respective divisional commissioners. These committees would identify the backlog of vacancies in their division and take up special drives to fill them. "The work of constituting these committees has been entrusted to Additional Secretary to PWD Balasubramanya," he said. Mr Singh also stated that a Government Order was enough to constitute these committees and take up the special recruitment drive.

Steps soon to rehabilitate affected Scheduled Caste employees

Dharam vows to implement court fiat

DH News Service

Public Works Minister Dharam Singh has said that the State government is committed to implementing the Supreme Court directive of December 1, 2000 on reservation in promotions and will take proper steps to see that SC/ST employees affected by this judgement, would be suitably rehabilitated.

Announcing this to reporters here today, Mr Singh said the government was in the process of preparing the seniority list in accordance with the Supreme Court's directive and at the same time was thinking of how suitably it could rehabilitate the affected SC/ST government employees. The judgement will apply to all the 94 departments of the government, he added.

When questioned whether the State government would seek an extension of the deadline (May 31) towards implementing the directives, Mr Singh stated that the government saw no reason to seek an extension as it was capable of implementing the judgement within the set time. ''The Law Department and the APAR under the overall guidance of Chief Secretary Theresa Bhattacharya are preparing the seniority list and it will be completed soon,'' he informed.

Also, when the Supreme Court judgement would be implemented, some of the promotions given to SC/ST employees on roster earlier will be reverted. Mr Singh said the government would protect the interests of those whose promotions will have to be reverted and they would be suitably rehabilitated. According to the Article 141 of the Constitution, the directive is binding on all states, all departments and to all posts in the country where reservation in promotion is in existence.

It may be recalled that the Joint-Action Committee of the Karnataka Engineers' Association (KEA) and the Karnataka Engineering Welfare Association (KEWA) had urged the State government to implement the court order regarding fixing of seniority of general category engineers in the State.

GENESIS OF JUDGMENT: The Supreme Court on October 10, 1995 had held that '' even if a Scheduled Caste/Schedule Tribe (SC/ST) candidate is promoted earlier due to the rule of reservation or roster than his senior general category candidate who is promoted later to the said higher grade, the general candidate regains his seniority over the earlier promoted SC/ST candidate. Thereby, the earlier promotion of the SC/ST candidate in such a situation does not make him senior over the general candidate, even though the general candidate is promoted later to that category.'' Earlier, on February 10, 1995, the Supreme Court had stated that reservations had to be made on posts, not on vacancies, and that the 18 per cent reservation for the SC/ST has to be maintained at that figure. The same was reiterated by the apex court on March 1, 1996.

When the State did not implement these orders, general category engineers went on strike for 34 days two years ago and on February 3, 1999, the State government issued an order implementing post-based reservation restricting representation to the SC/ST to 18 per cent. But due to pressure from several quarters, the government, through its April 13, 1999 order, diluted the February 3 order. The issue was also referred to the Law Department.

The Law Department on November 27, 1999 stated that the seniority lists had to be reviewed according to the Supreme Court's orders first with effect from February 10, 1995 and then with effect from March 1, 1996. But when the government did not do this, the joint action committee of the KEA and the KEWA approached the Supreme Court.

In its judgment on December 1, 2000, the Supreme Court stated that the roster promotions (for SC/ST) was meant only for the limited purpose of due representation to backward classes at various levels of service and there was no specific rule stating that seniority was to be counted in respect of roster promotion. Thereby, the Supreme Court held that the roster promotees could not be given seniority and that there would be no roster beyond the executive engineer's post.

Govt staff threaten indefinite stir
DH News Service

Over six lakh State government and quasi-government employees belonging to minorities, backward classes and the general category have threatened to go on an indefinite strike throughout the State from June if the government does not implement the Supreme Court's directive on reservation in promotions.

A decision to this effect was taken at a convention of 'Ahimsa' - Alpasankhyatara, Hindulida Haagu Samanyavargadavara Hitharakshana Okkuta - (Federation of Minorities, Backward Classes and General Category Government Employees) held in Bangalore on Wednesday.

Hundreds of members of the Federation took out a massive rally in Bangalore on Wednesday to register their protest against the delay in implementing the Supreme Court's directive to fill up vacant posts only with the candidates of the same category. The government and quasi-government employees belonging to minorities, backward classes and general category, who form a whopping 82 per cent of the total government work force, are deprived of their rights due to the present reservation system, the protesters said.

Following a petition from Mr R K Sabarwala, an engineer with the Irrigation Department of the Punjab Government in 1995, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had ruled that each category should be given their due share while filling a vacant post through promotion. Again in 1999, a constitutional bench of the Supreme Court upheld the ruling given by the five-judge bench in the case of Sabarwala and ordered that the directive must be deemed as law.

The State government decided to implement the directive on February 3, 1999, when the Engineers' Association of the State government organised agitations throughout the State demanding implementation of the directive. But, the State government took a U-turn when pressure mounted from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and brought some amendments to the law resulting in nullification of benefit to other categories.

But, a persistent Engineers' Association appealed to the Supreme Court which gave the historic judgment in their favour and also directed the respective governments to implement the same in phases over the next six months. Despite the time frame given by the Supreme Court, the State has not done anything in this regard though four months have already passed, the protesters contended. Noting that 'Justice delayed is justice denied', the protesters urged the government to implement the SC directive in all the 84 departments of the State government at the earliest.

The convention also decided to observe a day's dharna on May 16 as a token of protest over the delay. If the government does not prepare the seniority list within the remaining two months, the employees will be left with no other alternative but to launch an indefinite strike, said Ahimsa Convenor and President of the Karnataka Engineers' Association, Mr Nagaraj.

Earlier in the day, the protesters took out a mammoth rally from K R Circle which passed through Maharani College, Basaveshwara Circle, Shivananda Stores before culminating at Malleshwaram Grounds.

Source: Deccan Herald
Referred by:Balram Sampla
Published on: April 10, 2001
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