Avoid process of in-charge placements, ad-hoc promotions: Govt to Works Deptts

Inter-departmental panel constituted to resolve seniority issues

*Move to ensure streamlined career progression

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Sept 21: Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has directed all the Works Departments to avoid process of in-charge placements and ad-hoc promotions so that streamlined career progression is ensured. Moreover, an inter-departmental committee has been constituted for resolving seniority issues of the departments.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR in order to ensure that the administrative work doesn’t suffer till certain constraints or impediments in regular and permanent promotions are over, resorting to ad-hoc arrangement becomes a necessity.
“However, ad-hocism in promotions for a prolonged time affects the average output of an affected employee and leaves enough space for judicial intervention and decisions”, they further said, adding “once litigations are there against the administrative practices of promoting ad hoc promotions, not only is the Government as respondents to expend time, money and priorities in attending to court cases even the eligible employees prove a constellating factor to spread dissatisfaction in respect of ignoring seniority, merit and other factors by the Government in matters of promotion”.
All these aspects came up for discussion in a high-level meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, who accordingly directed that all the promotions, especially in the Works Departments, be made on regular basis and the process of in-charge placements/ad-hoc promotions be avoided so as to ensure a streamlined career progression of the concerned employees.
He has directed the Power Development Department, Jal Shakti Department, Roads and Buildings Department, General Administration Department, Finance Department, Law Department and ARI and Trainings Departments to ensure strict compliance of these directions.
During the meeting, Principal Secretary Power Development Department apprised that the exercise to ensure regular promotions, which has been pending for a long time owning to different issues including seniority and litigations, is a complex and lengthy process.
“The exercise has been initiated in the department and in the first instance the department will start submitting such cases for approval in batches in a period of few weeks”, sources said quoting the information provided by the Power Secretary during the meeting.
It is pertinent to mention here that even High Court of Jammu and Kashmir has, in numerous directions and judgments, observed, “practically in all the departments, promotions are being made on incharge basis. How an employee who is substantively working on the lowest post can be given the charge of a highest post in the department without there being regular promotions”.
“We do not rule out or advocate total stoppage to the option available but the same needs to be exercised rarely all looking to the exigencies of the work in a department where the post cannot be kept vacant for functional considerations until a regular eligible candidate becomes available. However, all efforts are required to be made to effect promotions through established procedures of seniority, merit”, read the observations made by the High Court in one such judgement.
Vide Government Order No.1172-JK(GAD) of 2020 dated December 31, 2020 had accorded sanction to the constitution of a Group of Officers for proposing a roadmap/way forward for putting an end to the practice of making adhoc promotions in various Government departments of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Group of Officers comprising Administrative Secretaries of Finance, PWD, GAD, Jal Shakti, ARI and Trainings Department and Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Department was directed to examine the reasons behind prevalent and continuing system of making adhoc-promotions in Government departments; to examine the issues/bottlenecks confronted by the departments in making regular promotions.
The Group of Officers was further directed to propose the way forward/roadmap for stopping the practice of making adhoc promotions.
However, officers of almost all the concerned departments fanned ignorance about the report of the committee and steps taken to implement the same if submitted.
Meanwhile, as directed by the Chief Secretary, committee has been constituted in each department for resolving seniority related issues.
The committee headed by Administrative Secretary concerned and comprising of Law Secretary, Director General Codes, Finance Department, Head of the Department concerned in case of non-gazetted services, Director Finance of the concerned department, representatives of General Administration Department, Finance Department and ARI and Training Department (not below the rank of Additional Secretary) has been directed to examine and recommend disposal of all matters pertaining to seniority disputes.
Moreover, the committee has been asked to ensure initiation/finalization/updation of Recruitment Rules of the department in a time bound manner; ensure annual notification of seniority lists of all cadres of the department; examine and recommend disposal of seniority/promotion related litigation matters of the department and ensure timely conduct of Departmental Promotion Committee meetings of the department.