“However good a constitution may be, if those who are implementing it are not good, it will prove to be bad.
However bad a constitution may be, if those implementing it are good, it will prove to be good”
The said proverb is in accordance with the statutory rules SRO 442 of 2017 & SRO 433 of 2007, made by the then Cabinet or then ruling Govt. of erstwhile state of J&K, for the recruitment of various technical posts( non gazetted as well as gazetted) in Dept of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
As we all are well aware of the fact that Article 16 of the Constitution of India, talks about the right of equal opportunity in the matter of public employment or in broader sense, it states that: there shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the state and so on……..
And also right to equality which is one of our fundamental rights in the Indian constitution includes equality before law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of race religion, gender and caste or birth place or in simple words we can say, it is the right to live with equal opportunities.
Despite of these provisions of Constitution of India provided to its citizens, many laws/rules are made which are contradictory to our supreme constitution.
One of such laws or rules is SRO(Statutory Rules and Orders) 442 and SRO 433 which are made by amending the previous rules and order for the process of recruitment in Dept of Agriculture and Farmers welfare in the erstwhile state of J&K.
First of all, it is important for all to know what SRO 442 & 433 is and from which rules they had been amended.
SRO 442 is an amendment of SRO 02, Dated 2nd January 2004. SRO 02 of 2004 stated that “For the posts of Junior Agriculture Extension Officer, then Pay Scale (6500-10500) which is an entry level post for the agriculture graduates, the minimum qualification for Direct Recruitment is B.Sc. Agriculture from a recognised university and the method of recruitment is : 60 percent by direct recruitment and 35 percent by promotion from class (III) category B & Class (IV) with matric and BAT (Basic Agriculture Training) or BHT (Basic Horticulture Training) of 6 months and having 5 years of experience in that class and rest of the 5 percent by promotion from any class category in order of class from amongst those having passed B.Sc. Agriculture Training.
From SRO 02, it can be concluded that this SRO provided equal opportunities for Agriculture graduates from recognised universities and was in accordance with Article 16 of the Indian Constitution.
Now, the amendment to this SRO 02 came in September, 2017 as SRO 442 which stated that: (In Schedule IInd), For the post of Junior Agriculture Extension Officer (Pay Scale 9300-34800+ 4280), the method of direct recruitment abolished and these posts are to be filled by: 100 % promotions i.e. 75 % by promotion from class IV category ‘A’ & 25% by promotion from class IV category ‘B’ with BAT(Basic Agriculture Training) of 6 months and having 03 years of substantive service.
Now the interesting fact is that, there is crystal clear violation of Article 16 of the Constitution of India in SRO 442, where it has been clearly mentioned that the post of Junior Agriculture Extension Officer shall be filled on promotional basis only. Despite of it, the then Cabinet or the then Govt. of erstwhile state of J&K made this statutory rule and thus came in existence the draconian policy.
Another hilarious fact as per SRO 442 is, the people who are appointed at class (IV) level, having matric as their qualification, after completion of only 6 months of training i.e. BAT (Basic Agriculture Training) are promoted to the post of Junior Agriculture Extension Officer as their quota is kept reserved in the SRO 442 but unfortunately there is no provision left for the young brigade of Agriculture graduates who are willing to face the stringent competition and to serve the farmer community of the erstwhile state.
Many of us may not know that ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) the autonomous body responsible for coordinating agricultural education and research in India has declared all Under Graduate courses in Agriculture and Allied Subjects as professional degree courses. Despite of this, no place has been kept for the Agri graduates in the recruitment of Jr. Agriculture Officer which itself is a highly technical post and requires expertise.
In addition, the then Govt. of J&K had justified itself by creating a new post for Agri youth as mentioned in SRO 442, by the name of Agriculture Extension Assistant (Pay Scale – 9300-34800+4200) and surprisingly, the pay grade of this post is equal to the pay grade of Plumber, Electrician, (9300-34800+4200) as mentioned. Moreover, even the Senior Mechanic (9300-34800+4260) as mentioned in the draconian SRO 442, is having higher pay grade than the post which is kept for Agri graduates and we can conclude that what justice those policy makers have done to Agriculture youth.
Now coming to another Draconian SRO 433, September 2007, which is an amendment to SRO 179, 1988 (For gazetted posts) earlier stated that the method of recruitment for the post of Agriculture Extension Officer is: 50 % through Direct Recruitment and 50 % through Departmental promotions. But as per the amended SRO 433 of 2007, which stated that: The quota of Direct Recruitment has been altered by: prescribing only 20% for Direct recruitment which was 50% prior and remaining 80% to be filled by promotions only. Where there were opportunities for the Youth, the Govt. just reduced the direct recruitment quota. Since 2008, not even a single post of Agriculture Extension Officer has been advertised by JKPSC despite of vacant lying posts.
No one is here to beg for the jobs if not vacant in various fields but when these type of unconstitutional policies are made by the so called legislators or law makers, the side effects can be observed on the mental health of the unemployed educated youth which can sometimes lead to consumption of harmful drugs, suicidal tendencies and also builds a sense of distrust on policy makers and even on Indian Constitution which is supreme among all. I would like to draw the kind attention of the L.G. Manoj Sinha. to this issue and whenever the policy will be reviewed by the authorities, the lacunas will be crystal clear. Majority of the posts in Dept of Agriculture are lying vacant but their quota is fixed only for those who are already working in the Dept. If these policies continue to exist, the future of the youth will be on the darker side.
(The author is President Jammu Kashmir Agricultural Students Association)