By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 28 Jan: Response to one RTI inquiry has revealed that the Experts Committee set up to submit its advice on the appointments on various posts in Assembly Secretariat of Uttarakhand had felt that all ad–hoc appointments made in the Assembly Secretariat on various posts without following due selection process were unconstitutional.
The expert committee set up by the Speaker, held 396 ad–hoc appointments to the Legislative Assembly to be unconstitutional and on 168 appointments made from 2001 to 2015, on the basis of the decision of the Supreme Court in Uma Devi case, the Committee had recommended to take appropriate action on case to case basis, by obtaining legal opinion in each case.
The RTI response has now been uploaded on the Assembly’s website too and it raises several questions now. While based on recommendation of Speaker Ritu Khanduri, the state government had cancelled all ad–hoc appointments made after 2015 on various posts in Assembly Secretariat, no action had been taken in respect of the ad–hoc appointments made before 2015.
The expert committee had been formed by Speaker Ritu Khanduri Bhushan to investigate the appointments to the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly submitted its report on 20 September 2022. In this, all the 396 ad hoc appointments made from 2001 to 2021 have been considered unconstitutional and wrong.
Following the submission of the report , 228 appointments had been considered liable to be cancelled, and were cancelled by the government, and no action was taken in respect of 168 ad–hoc appointments made between 2001 and 2015. Actually, these appointments had been regularised between the years 2013 and 2016 under the Congress Government. However, in view of the famous judgement of the Supreme Court in Uma Devi vs Union of India, the experts committee considered even these appointments to be unconstitutional. The RTI information had been sought by RTI activist Nadeem Uddin. The report clearly mentions that Article 14 and Article 16 of the Constitution of India have been violated by not providing equal opportunity to all eligible and willing candidates for the ad hoc appointments made in the Legislative Assembly Secretariat from the year 2001 to 2022.
Para 11 of the report also mentions that all these appointments were made in contravention of the provisions of the Rules. Violations of the provisions shown in the report include not forming a selection committee, not giving advertisement or public notice for ad hoc appointment, nor obtaining names from employment offices, providing appointments on individual applications without asking for applications and no competitive examination was held. Not conducting, not ensuring representation (reservation benefits) of candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and other categories of Uttarakhand State as per the provisions of the Rules.
It remains to be seen now, if in the wake of this report having been made public, the government and the Speaker initiate any action to cancel these 168 ad–hoc appointments or not.