Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has strongly opposed induction of retired government officials into different State departments and Constitutional bodies such as the Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Jammu and Kashmir State Vigilance Commission (SVC) on the basis of political proximity and affiliation.

PDP’s chief spokesperson Naeem Akhtar said in a statement on Monday that “politicisation of appointments to constitutional bodies” was being attempted with the sole objective of providing government jobs “only to the favourites of the ruling dispensation.”

He cautioned the coalition government that vetting of the panels of names by extra-Constitutional political offices would add “another dark chapter to the governance crisis” in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Work within brief”

“Nothing worse can happen to the Constitutional scheme of governance than a political grouping with no constitutional standing proposing the names of members to a Constitutional body meant for ensuring transparency in government recruitment at gazetted level,” Mr. Akhtar said in reaction to reports that the panels of names worked out by the duly-authorised search committees were being made subject to the approval of the Congress party’s and the National Conference’s coordination committee.

The ruling coalition, he said, must not view working within Constitutional limits as a sign of weakness for the government.

Mr. Akhtar alleged that the ruling coalition had abandoned all norms of propriety and in the process compromised the neutrality, credibility and independence of institutions created and safeguarded by the Constitution. He claimed that out of its arrogance, the government had recommended a controversial panel, containing the names of some retired public servants, to the Governor for appointment of Chief Vigilance Commissioner and two Vigilance Commissioners.

In the search committee meeting last year, PDP’s president and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Mehbooba Mufti had strongly opposed the then retiring Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda’s name. She had subsequently filed a caveat before the Governor.

According to some newspaper reports, the Governor has ignored Ms. Mufti’s caveat after the J&K High Court’s clean chit to Mr. Khoda and approved the government’s panel. However, no appointment order has been issued in the last several months. After the J&K Legislature’s creation of the SVC last year, Governor N.N. Vohra had constituted the Commission in February 2011. With no appointment of staff, it exists only on paper.

Mr. Akhtar also took exception to a retired official’s induction as ‘consultant for fast track recruitments’ and claimed that his appointment had already vitiated the recruitment process at the junior levels.

He said the NC was once again destroying the recruitment institutions in its bid to appoint those who were close to it or those who could pay for the jobs. He claimed that nearly 300 blue-eyed boys of the ruling coalition had been granted post-retirement rehabilitation, merely on account of their proximity and loyalty to the two ruling parties.