Spirit of Article 14 doesn’t appear to have been followed: SAC - watsupptoday.com
Spirit of Article 14 doesn’t appear to have been followed: SAC
Posted 23 Aug 2017 12:20 PM

The spirit of Article 14 of the Constitution of India, which provides for equality and the fair procedure doesn’t appear to have been followed by three former Speakers while making appointments in the Legislative Assembly Secretariat.
These observations have been made by the State Accountability Commission in the much-publicized case while allowing time to the Legislative Assembly Secretariat officers and their counsel for making specific submissions justifying these appointments.
Moreover, the Commission has granted time for removal of objectionable pleadings which, according to it, were undermining its authority despite the fact that SAC was constituted to inquire into grievances and allegations against the public functionaries. The Commission also observed that it has powers to examine the act of Speaker as per the provisions of J&K State Accountability Commission Act.
According to the sources privy to the proceedings in this much publicized case, the Full Commission comprising Justice B A Khan (Chairperson) and Justice J P Singh and Justice B A Kirmani (Members), which met at Srinagar recently, explicitly told Legislative Assembly Secretariat officers including its Secretary and their counsel appearing before it that whatever their stance may be the appointments don’t appear to have satisfied the mandate of law— ensuring fairness and opportunity to all to compete.
It is pertinent to mention here that Article 14 of the Constitution deals with equality before the law. “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India”, reads the Article.
According to the Accountability Commission, the procedure of law doesn’t appear to have been followed in making appointments and the only precedence was relied upon as such equal opportunity as well as Constitutional and fundamental rights guaranteed to all the citizens in the matters of employment became casualty. The Commission was also of the view that these Speakers of Legislative Assembly should have notified the vacancies and invited applications as is the process being followed for appointments in the Government departments instead of following the precedence.
Sources said that Accountability Commission also noticed the pleadings of the Assembly Secretariat as objectionable and undermining its authority. “In the pleadings, the officers representing the Assembly Secretariat mentioned that position of Speaker cannot be undermined by any agency especially when the J&K Assembly Secretariat (Recruitment and Condition of Services) Rules give powers to Speaker to make appointments”, sources said.
However, the Accountability Commission told them that as per the provisions of J&K State Accountability Commission Act it enjoys powers even to examine the act of Speaker. “The competence of appointing authority doesn’t mean going against the principles of natural justice as equal opportunity is to be provided to everyone-all eligible candidates for any post which is Constitutional and Fundamental right guaranteed to all citizens in the matters of employment. Moreover, precedence cannot make rules”, the SAC observed.
After receiving rap on knuckles, the officers of Assembly Secretariat and their counsel prayed before the Accountability Commission for grant of some time for removal of objectionable pleadings. While considering their submission, the Commission asked them for making specific submissions justifying these appointments.
As per the record furnished by the Assembly Secretariat, 28 appointments were made by the then Speaker Mohd Akbar Lone (presently MLA of National Conference), 5 by the then Speaker Tara Chand (former MLA) and 4 by the then Speaker Mubarak Gul (another sitting MLA of National Conference).
The State Vigilance Organization (SVO) has already established glaring irregularities and procedural lapses besides blatant violation of Constitutional and fundamental rights in making these appointments.
“In the absence of Rules regarding mode of appointments, the law laid down in this behalf makes it obligatory to adopt the procedure of open and fair competition by putting these posts to the advertisement thereby giving equal opportunity to the eligible candidates as provided under Constitution”, the SVO has mentioned in its findings, adding “the appointments in question were made by the Speakers of the relevant times directly after receiving the applications/representations from the candidates and for making such appointments by such direct mode recourse of precedence was taken which is not legally sustainable as in the years 2001 and 2005 the posts were put to advertisement”.
“Now, it is to be seen what stance the Legislative Assembly takes before the Accountability Commission when the case is going to be taken up in near future”, sources said.

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