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Assembly recruitment rules

It is bizarre to know that recruitment  rules of gazetted and non gazetted staff to two secretariats of the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council have not been updated even after the lapse of nearly 58 years. Keeping in mind the sea change that has occurred in entire social cum political structure of the State, one wonders whether outdated recruitment rules have any justification to be still in vogue. The existing rules—J&K Assembly Secretariat (Recruitment and Conditions of Services) Rules and that of J&K Legislative Council were framed way back in 1959 and no serious efforts were made since then to update the same so as to ensure transparency in recruitment of the staff. Fifteen years ago a sporadic effort was made to bring about some reforms in the existing rules and a draft of reformed rules was submitted to the Government for consideration. However, there was no reaction from the Government even though several reminders were sent to frame the new rules.
The major lacuna in the existing rules for recruitment to the Secretariat of the two Houses of Legislature (Recruitment and Conditions of Service Rules, 1959) is that these give recruitment powers to the Speaker of the Assembly but without defining the procedure and methodology to be adopted by the Speaker which would have the normal rationale and would respond fully to conditions of transparency, fairness and aptitude. It will be recalled that some time back State Vigilance Organisation had unearthed a scandal pertaining to serious irregularities in making recruitments to various posts by the former Speakers of the Assembly. The Vigilance authorities had strongly recommended that recruitment rules for the two Secretariats need to be updated for ensuring transparency and fairness. The question arises what forces are there trying to wreck the process of reforms in existing rules and to what purpose. It is amusing and surprising that nobody cared to raise the question as to why the Speaker should be given unbridled powers of making recruitment at free will, with no conditions and constraints specified for the recruitment. Why not the recruitment rules applicable for recruitment by the Public Service Commission or Recruitment Board are made applicable to recruitment to the Secretariat of the two Houses of the Legislature? On the face of it there appears no rationale for giving unbridled powers of recruitment. It has to be brought home to those who are responsible for ordering reforms in the existing recruitment rules that failure to update the rules is resented by the youth in the State who feel that their chance of getting recruited to the Assembly Secretariat on the basis of merit and ability are washed away by the arbitrary powers invested in the Speaker. Another glaring lacuna in the existing rules is that these provide no promotional avenues for the functionaries whether in the gazetted or non – gazetted cadres. This goes against the very philosophy of inducting efficiency among the cadres.

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