OSD appt: ENSF reacts to NPMSA statement

DIMAPUR, JUL 14 (NPN): | Publish Date: 7/14/2019 11:48:43 AM IST

Taking cognisance of the statement issued by Nagaland Planning Machinery Service Association (NPMSA) and published in local dailies on Sunday that named one of its bona fide members, Eastern Naga Students’ Federation (ENSF) has asserted that the former had no legal right or moral authority to question the legally justified decision of the State government when large number of employees have questionable entry into the department.

In a press release issued by its president Sepili Sangtam and general secretary Imti Choba Chang, the federation said NPMSA had every liberty to approach the court of law instead of “blackmailing” and serving ultimatum to the government, if it was so aggrieved by the decision. ENSF also asked the association to be grateful to the government for approving the long pending Service Rules 2019 of the planning & coordination department. 

Pointing out that there was no approved or notified Service Rules of planning & coordination department since its inception, ENSF said it was only on June 29 that the State cabinet had approved Service Rules (SR) 2019, based on the Gauhati High Court order of May 20 and the Rules of Executive Business, 2016. 

It further asserted that the court’s observation that the posts of assistant development commissioner (ADC) and officer on special duty (OSD skill development) were not inter-transferable was correct as the post of OSD (SD) was not mentioned in the draft Service Rules of 2010. 

Mentioning that the OSD (SD) post was included in SR 2019 as a follow-up action on the court verdict dated of May 20, the federation claimed that due process of law was followed and adhered to, including clearance from the personnel & administrative reforms (P&AR) department, on the matter.  It also reminded NPMSA that it was the prerogative of the State government to frame service rules as per the provisions of law, where employees could not dictate terms. 

When the post of OSD (SD) was created under the planning & coordination department by the State cabinet, ENSF claimed that I Sino Phom was brought on deputation after following the due process of law. Later, on December 18, 2012 the cabinet decided to absorb the post of OSD (SD) and her service into a permanent regular cadre vide a notification on March 25, 2013. The writ petition (WP (C) No 53 (K) of 2013) filed by N Joory and 30 others challenging the notification of March 25, 2013 was dismissed on June 30, 2014 by Gauhati High Court, which upheld the March 25, 2013 notification, the federation added.

Meanwhile, the cabinet on August 5 decided that appropriate action should be taken by the planning & coordination department vis-à-vis the cabinet decision of December 18, 2012 and the high court verdict. Amidst all these, contrary to this and to utter shock, the department issued a notification on December 22, 2015 making the post of OSD (SD) into ex-cadre and personal to her. 

At this and having no alternative, I Sino Phom was compelled to approach Gauhati High Court (WP (C) No. 10 (K) of 2016) against the notification by which the post of OSD (SD) was made ex-cadre and personal to her. In its order on March 17, 2017, the high court quashed and set aside the December 22, 2015 notification on the ground that the department had exceeded its jurisdiction while issuing it, and restored the earlier notification of March 25, 2013 by which the post of OSD (SD) was made a regular cadre post under the department, the release explained.

Later, the cabinet decision of September 12, 2017 was challenged by Augustine M Yanthan and 48 others in Guahati High Court (WP (C) No. 222 (K) of 2017). The court has not interfered with the decision to make the post of OSD (SD) a regular post in the rank and pay of ADC and the inclusion of the said post in the Rules.

Further, Paragraph 108 had given the liberty to the petitioners to challenge the service rules, if the same were found to be arbitrary and discriminatory, the release added.

The State government had adopted and introduced Job Reservation Policy for the least represented tribes, which was in consonance with Article 16 of the Indian constitution, since 1977. However, even after a lapse of more than 40 years of the reservation policy, the federation regretted that the six tribes of Eastern Nagaland had only 10.1 % representation in the planning & coordination department, while Chang, Khiamniungan and Yimchunger tribes had zero representation. 

Mentioning that this was one classic case of how the people of Eastern Nagaland were systematically “deprived, victimised and denied” employment opportunities, the federation demanded that provisions under Article 14 and 16 of the Indian constitution should be applied equally and fairly to the people of the area. 

ENSF asked NPMSA where was the latter’s voice when more than 38 employees in the department were appointed via backdoor in the absence of service rules. 

It said an RTI reply furnished by the department to ENSF on July 13, 2015 had pointed out that there was no particular mode of entry and “absorption/regularization” of the employees on deputation.

The federation alleged that, due to absence of approved service rules and non-adherence to the draft service rules, there had been several instances in the past of persons having been brought on deputation at different lateral entries with different types of designations and subsequently absorbed in the department. 

NSF cited the examples of six officials brought on deputation in the department and who were subsequently absorbed, promoted and even allowed to head the department. 

Alleging that only one OSD (SD) had been targeted and discriminated against in the last 7-8 years, the federation wanted to know from NPMSA whether it was its objective to block the career of I Sino Phom and turn a blind eye to other six cases of deputations.  

By utilising all resources at its disposal to sabotage the career of I Sino Phom for the last 7-8 years despite multiple favourable high court verdicts and cabinet decisions, ENSF said all these only vindicated that the association had no respect for the rule of law when it concerned the interests of Eastern Nagaland. 

However, asserting that it would not succumb to any sort of blackmail and threat and would not remain a mute spectator to a group with mala fide intent, ENSF the federation said it was not about an individual case of I Sino Phom, but a glaring example of decades of insults and deprivations hurled upon the people of Eastern Nagaland.  

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