J&K re-organization puts Govt employees in quandary: Harsh

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Sept 10: While urging upon the Govt to clear the air with the regard to the basis for allocation of in-service employees of the State amongst the two Union Territories as well as the conditions of service in the successor UTs, NPP chairman and former minister Harsh Dev Singh has said that uncertainly continued to haunt the Govt employees of J&K.
He said that there were certain disturbing and offensive clauses which had created alarm amongst the civil servants. He said that sub sec (1) of sec 89 unambiguously stated that those serving in the existing state of J&K on ‘substantive’ basis shall continue to serve in the resulting UTs from the appointed date ‘provisionally’.
Expressing dismay over the extremely vexatious clause in the J&K Re-organization Act, Singh questioned as to how a ‘substantive’ service could be converted into ‘provisional’ service merely on the division of State. He said that the intention behind the said clause was re-inforced by virtue of a further provision in sec 91 which provided that competent authority could discontinue the services of any employee or abolish the post or office from the appointed date i.e. October 31, 2019.
Quoting the proviso to sec 91, Singh said that it unambiguously stated “provided that nothing in this section shall be deemed to prevent a competent authority, on and from the appointed day, from passing in relation to such person any order affecting the continuance in such post or office”. He pointed towards the unbridled powers conferred by sec 90 upon the Lt Governor who was vested with the powers to change the conditions of service of a Govt employee. He said that as per sec 89 of the J&K Re-organization Act, the power “to determine the successor UT to which each employee of the existing state shall be finally allotted for service” has been vested in the Lt Governor. He ( L-G) was required to issue the said order of allocation of UTs amongst the employees immediately upon the division of state into the said two UTs.
Though the Lt Governor of UT of J&K had been conferred with additional powers to depute officers from one UT to the other, the requirement of taking options from the service employees could not have been dispensed with as per the provisions of the said Act. He said that non-initiation of action in the regard had also crated apprehensions which too needed to be dispelled.
He said since the J&K legislature of J&K UT was in the conceptual state, the conditions of service of employees in the UT also were required to be defined by the Lt Governor before October 31. Equally vulnerable is the status of contractual, need based casual and other categories of non permanent employees with no mention having been made about them the Re-organization Act, he added.