Amend SRO-202, it’s sword of Damocles hanging high on heads of employees: LC

Change Rule in the light of DoPT Office Memorandum

*Says concept of justice, equality remains casualty

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Nov 16: In a major employees friendly suggestion, the Law Commission headed by Justice (Retd) M K Hanjura has recommended amendment in SRO-202 issued by the General Administration Department whereby probation of five years has been fixed for declaring the employees as permanent and dubbed the notification as clear violation of the concept of justice and equality. Moreover, it has laid stress on bringing the relevant rule in line with the Office Memorandum of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) of Government of India.
The SRO-202 was issued by the General Administration Department vide Notification dated June 30, 2015 running under the inscription Jammu and Kashmir Special Recruitment Rules, 2015. This SRO received wide-spread criticism across the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir and till today associations of the employees have been agitating and seeking its revocation.
Rule 8, which deals with nature of appointment, states: “A person appointed under these Rules shall be initially on probation for a period of five years and after completion of five years he or she shall be declared permanent subject to passing of such tests or successfully undergoing such training provided under the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1956”.
This Rule further read: “The appointee shall have to necessarily work for a period of five years on the post against which he has been appointed and such appointee shall not be eligible for transfer for whatsoever reason during the temporary service of five years”.
Rule 9 states: During the period of first five years, the appointee shall be entitled to the minimum scale of the pay along with the grade pay applicable to the post against which he is appointed. “Every appointee shall after completion of five years period on probation shall be entitled to fixation of pay in the time scale of pay applicable to the post against which he is appointed”.
The Law Commission has found the period of five years as disproportionate, supernatural, plethoric and limitless when tested on the touchstone of the Office Memorandum of Department of Personnel and Training of Government of India issued on July 21, 2014. “The period of probation for direct recruitment to the non-gazetted posts has to keep pace, tranquility and affinity with Rule 3(i) of the Office Memorandum of the DoPT”, the Law Commission has mentioned in the report submitted to the Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam.
“An employee cannot be asked to wend a tortuous journey tottering or rather doddering his/her way to register claim for the completion of the period of probation after a great deal and lull of five years. The SRO has the evil effect of keeping the fate of the employees hanging”, the Commission said, adding “scanning the cases of this set of employees for regularization after an unconscionable delay of five years tantamount to the denial of service benefits to them when tested on the strength of Rule 9 of the SRO which provides that during the period of first five years the appointee shall be entitled to the minimum of scale of pay along with the grade pay applicable to the post against which he is appointed and every appointee shall after the completion of five years period on probation be entitled to the fixation of pay in the time scale of pay applicable to the post against which he is appointed”.
Putting the ruling elite of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir in the dock over this SRO, the Law Commission said, “they kept the sword of Damocles hanging high on the heads of this set of employees”, adding “while the taxable income of this ruling class all by itself had to be borne by the State exchequer in addition to a host of other amenities and facilities provided to them at the cost of the tax payers money, these helpless employees who would hardly be making their both ends meet had the perks provided to them have been held in a leash”.
The Law Commission further said, “the makers of the SRO have enveloped the life of the class of employees detailed and described in it as the tentacles of an octopus its victim”, adding “a welfare State cannot be on the watch to grab a victim, with and quite as often without, even the merest technical cause”.
With these observations, the Law Commission headed by Justice (retd) M K Hanjura has recommended that words five years wherever appear in SRO-202 shall be replaced with two years which will not only be in tune and in line with the Office Memorandum of Department of Personnel and Training of Government of India but will also be in consonance with the evolved concept of justice and equality.
“Those employees who have completed two years of probation on the date of the promulgation of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act—October 31, 2019 may be regularized subject to the conditions laid down in the SRO and the cases of those employees who will be completing two years of probation on any future date may be taken up for such consideration on such dates”, the Law Commission has recommended to the Government.