State government orders PSC to stop recruitment procedures

Close on the heels of a row over the extension of rank lists, the State government and the Public Service Commission (PSC) are again locking horns over the recruitment of ministerial staff of the police Special Branch.

After entrusting the recruitment to the commission, the government reversed its decision while preparations were in full swing for conducting a written test on October 26. Thus, the fate of 2,15,316 candidates who have applied for 20 posts, including assistant Grade II, typists, shorthand reporters, and stenographers, has become uncertain.

The 20 vacancies were reported to the commission on August 31, 2011, and the commission issued a gazette notification on July 16, 2012. A degree in any discipline was prescribed as the minimum qualification. The commission prepared and printed question papers, and initiated procedures for conducting the test in all districts. The commission then received another intimation directing to stop the recruitment procedures, as the Home Department had decided to divest it of the responsibility.

The Principal Secretary, Home, in his letter to the commission secretary on September 13, warned against continuing the recruitment procedures overlooking the government directive. The authority for recruitment was stripped on the ground that staff selected by the commission may not be able to maintain the confidential nature of the job.

This is said to be illogical, as all appointments in different echelons of the State police are still done by the commission.

Official sources told The Hindu that as per rules, vacancies once reported to the commission could not be cancelled on any ground, and the right for recruitment could not be repealed by the government or the reporting agency. It was on this premise that the commission recently issued appointment advice to 9,000-odd conductors in the crisis-ridden Kerala State Road Transport Corporation. The commission’s decision had come in for criticism, but ignoring the protests, it went ahead with the procedures.

The appointment of ministerial staff was vested with the commission in the wake of complaints of corruption and nepotism. With the row unresolved, neither the government nor the commission seem to be concerned about the fate of the candidates, the sources said.

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