Amid allegations of back-door appointments and nepotism against the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government, the United Democratic Front’s (UDF) promise that if elected to power it will enact a law that guarantees employment rights of candidates who are selected by the Public Service Commission (PSC) is aimed at striking a responsive chord with young voters and job aspirants.
The announcement made by former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, while inaugurating the Aishwarya Kerala Yatra led by Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala in Kasaragod on January 31, is seen as an attempt to highlight the LDF’s ‘back-door appointments and attempt to regularise contract staff in government institutions’ in the UDF’s campaign for the Assembly elections.
Mr. Chennithala underscored this when he said in Kozhikode on Thursday that the UDF would relook at the large number of ‘back-door’ appointments if it comes to power in the State. The practice of making contract employees permanent is rampant, violating Supreme Court orders. The regularisation of temporary and contract staff, bypassing the PSC and employment exchanges, has been mainly done for those with political leanings and influence, he alleged.
By lawyers’ forum
The Kerala Protection of Employment Rights of (Ranked candidates of Public Service Commission) Act, 2021 is a draft enactment proposal prepared by the State committee of the Congress-affiliated Indian Lawyers Congress and submitted to the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee’s election manifesto committee, which has given in-principle approval to the draft. One of its highlights is that all appointing authorities shall report to the PSC the anticipated vacancy in each category of posts separately six months prior to the arising of vacancy. The vacancies should be published on the website of the departments. The draft ‘Bill’ bars appointing authorities from making ad hoc appointments for which valid rank lists notified by the PSC are in force. The ban on ad hoc appointments, however, shall not be applicable to recruitments made through the employment exchange.
Prison term and fine
The ‘Bill’ has a section that non-compliance with these provisions will attract imprisonment for a term up to two years and a fine.
“It will put an end to the practice of back-door appointments,” said T. Asaf Ali, ILC State president and former Director General of Prosecutions. The practice of filling vacancies in government jobs with temporary appointments that will be regularised according to the whims of the party in power is an infringement of the fundamental rights enshrined in Article 16 (equality of opportunity in matters of public employment) of the Constitution, he said.