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J&K’s Re-organization puts Govt employees in quandary: JKNPP
9/10/2019 10:18:45 PM

Early Times Report

Jammu, Sept 10: Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) Chairman Harshdev Singh has urged 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.
Singh said that uncertainly continued to haunt the govt employees of J&K as 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. 31st of October, 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 further 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 Union Territory to which each employee of the existing state shall be finally allotted for service" has been vested in the Lt Governor.
He further pointed out that the Lt Governor was required to issue the said order of allocation of Union Territories amongst the employees immediately upon the division of state into the said two UTs. He said that the Govt was required under sec 89 (2) to seek options from the govt employees with regard to their preferences for either of the two UTs which though were not binding upon the govt. The govt however had failed to initiate any process for seeking such options from the govt employees despite very little time having been left for the proposed transition which was to take effect from October 31, 2019, he lamented.
And 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.
Harsh Dev Singh further pointed out that provisions of Chapter-I, Part-XIV of the constitution of India had been expressly made applicable to the existing state of J&K by a special provision in the J&K Re-organization Act. He divulged that the said constitutional provisions as enshrined in Art 309 and 310 emphatically state that recruitment and conditions of service govt employees shall be regulated by Acts of 'appropriate legislature' and in the absence of the same the powers shall vest in the Governor/Lt Governor.
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 the date of transition i.e. the appointed date of 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. The uncertainty therefore continues to loom large over their heads in view of state Re-organization Act being silent with regard to their fate and proviso to sec 91 empowering the Lt Governor to discontinue any person or even post which he deemed fit. With the wages of casuals, DRWs and need based workers of several deptts remaining unpaid for the last around 5 years as repeatedly reported in media also, the concerns of non permanent employees needed to be immediately addressed before the appointed date for division of state into two separate union territories, asserted Singh.
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