Kathmandu, June 15
Although the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee of the House of Representatives has issued directives to the Public Service Commission telling it to halt its recruitment process of over 9,000 staffers for local governments, the PSC is awaiting a Supreme Court ruling on the issue as the case is sub-judice.
PSC Spokesperson Kiran Raj Sharma said as per the constitution, the Supreme Court had the final say on the lawsuit and the PSC was waiting to see what the apex court would do. He said the PSC’s process of recruiting local level staff was on as the SC had not told the PSC to halt it.
The SC has called the PSC to appear before it on June 1 to contest the case.
Senior Advocate Surendra Kumar Mahto, however, said the PSC was trying to evade the SAGGC’s directive in the name of the SC. “The SC has not told the PSC to halt the process and even if the PSC halts it, that would not adversely affect the sub-judice case,” Mahto argued. He said as per Article 293 of the constitution, parliamentary panels had the power to monitor, evaluate and issue advice and directives to constitutional bodies except the National Human Rights Commission.
The other constitutional bodies were bound to follow the parliamentary panels’ directives.
It’s a directive of the sovereign Parliament and cannot be ignored, he argued.
According to Mahto, Section 12 (5) of Employees Adjustment Act allows the federal government to request the federal PSC to recruit staff in local levels and provincial governments as an exceptional provision that can be invoked only in a genuine situation, but in this case such a situation has not arisen. “Provincial governments are working to enact laws related to provincial Public Service Commission.
How can the federal government invoke Section 12 (5) at this stage?” he wondered.
Mahto said the PSC had cited the status of independent unit of each local level and that they could deny proportional inclusion in all seats as in some local units only one or two seats needed to be filled, but added that the PSC’s argument was contradictory.
“On the one hand, the PSC says proportional inclusion cannot apply to all local levels as there are not more than one or two seats, but on the other, the PSC has divided the seats into 14 zonal offices.
If the PSC treats each local level as a separate unit, it should have arranged exam for each local level.
However, in this case, the PSC has merged local levels of zonal units and told the applicants to choose from their priority list,” Mahto said and added that if the PSC could merge seats zone-wise, it could apply proportional inclusion in all the seats it wants to recruit in the local levels.
Advocate Shankar Limbu called the PSC’s decision to recruit local level staff ‘a ploy of the ruling class to dominate the bureaucracy of local governments for another 20 or 30 years’. “Recruitment of local level staff should be done by the provincial Public Service Commission, not the PSC,” he said, adding that the PSC should wait till the PPSCs were formed and they could recruit local staff.
Limbu said the percentage of seats reserved for marginalised communities in the constitution was not enough and yet the ruling class was trying to deny proportional representation to marginalised communities.
PSC said that as the Supreme Court had not told it to halt the recruitment process, it was still going on
A version of this article appears in print on June 16, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.