Selection process of law ministry comes under cloud
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Last Updated: Friday, March 23, 2012, 16:26
New Delhi: The ongoing selection process for additional secretaries in various departments of the Law and Justice Ministry has come under cloud with the CAT making its outcome subject to its verdict on a plea alleging breach of rules in the selection exercise.

The Central Administrative Tribunal subjected the outcome of the selection process to its verdict on a plea against it, saying, "In-depth questions of law are involved in this case.

"After hearing the counsel for applicant and perusing the entire facts of the case, we are of the opinion that there are in-depth questions of law involved in this case and it will be just and appropriate to adjudicate the matter...," said a bench of CAT's Acting Chairman S C Sharma and Member Ramesh Chandra Panda.

While making crucial observations, the CAT also said "the result of the selection shall be subject to the ultimate outcome of the Original Application (OA plea)" against the breach of rules and procedures in the selection process.

The bench made the observation, while admitting a common plea by a joint secretary-level officer of the Law Ministry and the association of Indian Legal Service officers, who man crucial posts of the law ministry's various departments, including the Legislative Department, Legal Affair Department, the Law Commission etc.

The common plea, filed by the Legislative Department's Joint Secretary-cum-Legislative Counsel P B Singh and the ILS officers' association, alleged that a selection-cum-search committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary had held a "farcical personal interview/interaction to pick and choose persons by inviting the joint secretaries of the ministry" on March 12 this year.

The CAT's direction came on a plea by Singh, who too had participated in the interview, saying he "too had to attend the glaring illegal personal interaction on March 12, 2012."

Pointing out the alleged illegalities in the selection process, Singh said the interview/interaction had been held without "preparing and finalising" any common seniority list of joint secretary level ILS officers of the ministry, as mandated by an April 1989 regulation of the Department of Personnel and Training.

Singh's petition said, "The April 1989 DOPT instructions bar carrying out personal interview unless it has been specifically provided for in the recruitment rules for the post/service."

It further said even the DOPT's September 1999 order for "constituting search-cum-selection committee for selection of person for the post of additional secretaries does not contemplate holding interview/personal interaction."

Admitting Singh's petition, the CAT has issued notices among others to the Cabinet Secretary and the DOPT secretary, besides those of the law ministry's Legislative and the Legal Affairs departments and has sought their stands within four weeks.


First Published: Friday, March 23, 2012, 16:25

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