Bureaucrats’ panel misses several deadlines for submission of report

Much-needed amendments in Compassionate Appointment Rules
SC judgments, GoI Scheme yet to be factored in Rules
Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, July 1: A committee of bureaucrats has missed several deadlines fixed by the Government for suggesting suitable amendments in the Compassionate Appointment Rules as a result of which the judgments of the Supreme Court and more rational and structured scheme being followed at the Government of India level could not be implemented/followed in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that in the month of August last year the Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta reviewed the implementation of SRO-43 of 1994 with the Principal Secretary to the Government, Home Department, Commissioner Secretary, General Administration Department and Secretary, Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.
In the meeting, discussion was held on the issue of determination of ‘element of compassion’ in SRO-43 cases and the Chief Secretary was apprised about the ‘point based relative merit scheme’ being followed in the Government of India, which is a more structured and rational process. During the discussion, the need of implementing the Supreme Court judgments on compassionate appointment in Government service was felt.
Accordingly, it was decided to review the entire process of compassionate appointment by factoring in the Apex Court judgments in the Rules. The task was assigned to a committee comprising Principal Secretary, Home Department, Commissioner Secretary, General Administration Department and Secretary, Law, Justice and Parliam-entary Affairs Department.
The committee was directed to revisit SRO-43 and suggest amendments in the Compassionate Appointment Rules. “Peculiar circumstances of J&K where special consideration has to be given to the cases of martyrs and practice followed in the Government of India shall be kept in consideration while framing the report”, the Chief Secretary had directed the committee.
From time to time, the issue came up for discussion in the meetings chaired by the Chief Secretary and accordingly different timelines were fixed for completion of task but the same were not strictly followed by the committee of bureaucrats. Even in a meeting held on June 14, 2022, the Chief Secretary observed, “the report of the committee on SRO-43 is still awaited”. Accordingly, Dr Mehta directed for submission of the report by June 20, 2022.
This deadline has too been missed by the committee as a result of the Government is not in a position to give practical shape to the decision which was taken in the month of August last year, sources said while disclosing that the committee is supposed to propose time period within which applications under SRO-43 are required to be considered.
“The committee is further required to propose a fixed percentage of vacancies to be reserved in each department for settlement of SRO-43 cases taking into account the Government of India norms and after analysis of data vis-à-vis appointments made under SRO-43 during the last 10 years”, sources further said.
They said that the Information Technology Department has already been directed to develop a Management Information System for monitoring/tracking SRO-43 cases at Union Territory, Divisional and District Level.
“About the provisions under SRO-43 which allow appointment for Next of Kin of civilians who got killed in militancy related incidents, the Government is of the opinion that this provision may not be strictly in consonance with the Apex Court judgments on compassionate appointment as such possibility is required to be explored to restrict this provision to financial assistance in such cases”, sources informed.
“It is really a matter of serious concern that the committee, which was supposed to submit its report within a period of 30 days, is dilly-dallying even after the lapse of several months”, they said, adding “there should not be any delay on the part of bureaucrats especially when they are dealing with the compassionate appointment issue as for want of their report the Government is not in a position to settle the pending SRO-43 cases”.