Resentment prevails among officers of J&K’s elite service

Seniority issue remains unresolved for past many years
*Adhocism being perpetuated instead of being checked
Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Dec 14: Strong resentment is prevailing among large number of officers of Jammu and Kashmir’s elite service as even during the President’s Rule they have failed to get justice in the form of fixation of their seniority. Moreover, in the absence of this vital exercise there is adhocism at various levels in the administration with eligible officers being deprived of the important positions.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that seniority list of Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Service officers was first issued in 2003 but large number of KAS officers were aggrieved over it because some junior KAS officers of 1999 batch who were dealing with the service matters in the General Administration Department managed to secure placement above the senior officers of 1992 batch as well as 1999 batch.
Though aggrieved officers filed representations at various levels in the administration with the request for rectification of errors but the same were not considered and issue remained unresolved.
In the meanwhile, slots of various feeding services also became available for induction into the Time Scale of KAS in the year 2004. Thereafter, seniority list was issued in the year 2010 showing the position of officers year-wise depending upon the allocation of slots. The Government even tried to accommodate the grievances of 1992 batch as well by allotting them the particular calendar year as prescribed in the Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Service Rules and slots allocated by the Establishment-cum-Selection Committee. This seniority by and large was acceptable.
However, those officers who were dealing with the case in the General Administration Department, for whom no slots were available, reversed the seniority without putting the officers to notice and issued final list which led to the filing of bunch of writ petitions. At present, both the seniority lists are under challenge in the High Court in numerous writ petitions.
“The failure of the Government to resolve the seniority issue has led to interim arrangements of placing KAS officers on higher posts in blatant violation of norms, laid down procedures and court directions”, sources said, adding “the mess created to help certain ‘blue eyed’ officers is the root cause of shortage of officers to man the senior positions including those at the Secretary level”.
They disclosed that certain officers in the garb of interim arrangements have been made Heads of the Departments and even Deputy Commissioners in some districts of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are junior to their Additional District Development Commissioners (ADDCs). “The adhocism is being promoted despite the fact that Supreme Court, while dealing with the petition filed by the General Administration Department, had cautioned against this practice”, sources further said.
“Instead of issuing seniority list in peace-meals, which is aimed at adopting different criteria for meeting the vested interests of certain officers, the present Government must frame seniority list of KAS officers strictly as per the rules so as to bring an end to the uncertainty prevailing during the past many years”, sources stressed, adding “once the issue is resolved the shortage of officers at higher level will be overcome as more than 55 KAS officers will become eligible for induction into IAS and the remaining will be eligible for Special Secretary level posts on substantive basis”.
They said that instead of adopting dilly-dallying approach in resolving the long pending issue, the Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu and Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam should steer out the elite service of the Union Territory from the mess so that not only wrong doings committed in the past are rectified but also the KAS officers heave a sigh of relief.
It is pertinent to mention here that those who remained at the helm of affairs in the General Administration Department devoted most of the time in getting themselves adjusted in different Commissions after retirement instead of resolving the seniority issue of the KAS officers once and for all.