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Meghalaya High Court stays recruitment process in govt establishments

It is alarming that despite 50 years of the formation of the State and 50 years of reservation in State government jobs, there is no roster system yet

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Shillong: A division bench of the Meghalaya High Court has stayed all further recruitment processes for all posts in the State and that no further appointments will be made until the roster system is put in place and the rosters are prepared in respect of all posts whereupon, after applying the reservation policy, future recruitment can be conducted by adhering to the ratio of reservation.

Hearing a Writ Petition, the bench comprising of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Wanlura Diengdoh expressed surprised that there are bureaucrats in place for the last 50 years and they did not dawn on any one of them to ensure that the roster system was put in place before the reservation policy could be appropriately implemented.

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“It is alarming that despite 50 years of the formation of the State and 50 years of reservation in State government jobs, there is no roster system yet. Indeed, this Bench was constrained to raise a question in course of a recent matter as to how the reservation policy could be implemented without a roster,” the Court observed.

“In view of such deplorable state of affairs, where the absence of any roster system leaves open possibilities of nepotism and arbitrariness and worse forms of subversion, the further recruitment processes for all posts in the State will remain stayed,” the Court further ordered.

“This will apply across State government agencies and instrumentalities in the State wherever the reservation policy is in vogue,” the High Court added.

The writ petition was filed by some employees of the Social Welfare Department complaining about the preparation of the gradation list in terms of Rule 15 of the Meghalaya Social Welfare Service Rules, 2007.

As far as recruitment in the Social Welfare Department is concerned, the High Court said that in the recruitment process initiated in 2006 and completed in 2009, even the advertisement did not indicate how many posts were for reserved candidates and how many for others.

There does not appear to be any list of employees in each post relevant for the purpose of reservation. The High Court also said that upon inquiry, it was discovered that it is the same distressing feature in the matter of recruitment in the Meghalaya High Court over the last decade of its existence.

Advocate-General Amit Kumar who was present in court, acknowledged that reservation cannot be implemented without a roster and also refers to the relevant Constitution Bench judgment reported at (1995) 2 SCC 745 (R.K. Sabharwal v. State of Punjab).

The bench also directed State Chief Secretary to indicate what steps have been taken when this matter appears next, the High Court said this aspect of the matter will be considered as a suo motu public interest litigation. The case will be heard again on April 20. 

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