The Bold Voice of J&K

Times demand serious review of terms for appointment of Retiring/Retired persons in statutory bodies

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These days so often discussions and debates are there regarding the Constitutional Bodies/ Institutions and Statutory bodies/ institutions and . Issues that enter into controversies are mostly related to the appointment of heads / members of such bodies. To be brief it could be said that the constitutional institutions / bodies are those which are mentioned in the constitution of India , derive their delegations authorities from the Constitution of India and any change in their structure / style of functioning would require constitutional amendment (Election Commission of India Art -324, Attorney General Art -76, National Commission for Scheduled Castes / National Commission for Scheduled Tribes/ National Commission for Backward Classes Art- 338/ 338A/338B,
Finance Commission of India Art- 280, Comptroller & Auditor General of India Art -148, UPSC/PSC Art 315-323, Special officer for Linguistic Minorities Art- 350B ) where as the Statutory bodies/ institutions are those which are established under an Act of Parliament / Legislature who are autonomous which may be regulatory (Biodiversity Authority of India -BAI, the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority -PFRDA, RERA , Enforcement Directorate -ED, like ) or quasi judicial ( National Green Tribunal, the National Human Rights Commission, the Central Information Commission , and like) and power to make laws and take decisions on behalf of state like . Most of controversies regarding appointments come when those are of persons who are nearing retirement from services or just retire from services.( administrative/ judicial).
Controversies from other angles have also been there in the past also like the appointment of Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) of India in 2012 and the manner in which the appointment was defended by the UPA 2 Government ( outside and inside the judiciary ) had made many to profess that re verification of the truthfulness and service antecedents of even highest level functionaries of Government for their employment / or positioning on the positions that enjoy constitutional safeguards during the tenure where even the retirement age is kept as high as 65 yrs. may still be required. In those days itself the Jammu and Kashmir Governor too had sought some CVC / other clearances about Mr. Sofi (who was recommended by state government for posting as Chief Information J&K ) who could on appointment , rules permitting, was to stay in the position for about 6 yrs. Though then the observations of the Governor might have appeared pinching to some but the times then surely demanded that. Imagine in case the incumbent CVC does not enjoy the confidence of the people how would his actions would be welcomed. Such questions and debates have continued at occasions even after that.
There are some positions on which the economy, security , development and generation of inputs for nation building are directly or indirectly dependent and no chance could be taken with such institutions where removal of a person after appointment is protected by very impermeable legal shield.
No doubt once a person reaches top position in civil services, as high as the level of a Union Secretary ,there should not be any need for still obtaining any clearances for his truthfulness, honesty and sincerity when need arises to consider him / her for appointment on some constitutional post National Human Rights Commission, Central Vigilance Commission, State Vigilance Commission , Election Commission and the like. But it is so unfortunate that in view of the extent to which the basic commitments / conduct have been allegedly abused over nearly last 3 to 4 decades need for doing a rethinking on blanket trust to be attached with high positions has arisen, particularly appointment on immediate retirement from government services/ judicial services..
So with the socio- political culture that prevails it cannot be ruled out that there may not be any serving government servants working at prime position who for the sake of getting appointments / re employment on some commission / constitutional institution may not do justice to regular job and may not care more to please the political bosses/ superiors hoping rehabilitation after retirement. Imagine the material benefit in money and perks that flows to one in service or retired government servant if she/ he is appointed on a statutory position, where even retirement age is 65 years.
As on date there is need for even the social institutions / organisations to impress upon the political leadership of India to incorporate through legislature some more conditions/ qualifications for appointment of the working / retired government servants to head the institutions created through the Acts of Parliament / Acts of legislature or even high stake commissions / bodies appointed outside the statutory provisions.
The conditions could be like (1) The persons to be appointed there if selected out of the Retired Judges, IAS / IPS /IRS / IFS officers should not be reappointed immediately before retirement (2) The persons to be appointed if are to be selected out of the Retired Judges, IAS / IPS /IRS / IFS officers it should be ensured that the person should have retired not less than 1 years before the date the process of selection is initiated (3) Where the appointment has to be made out of the retired government employees any reference if made in the rules for selection only from IAS/ IRS/IPS/IFS/IAAS should be removed since there could be suitable people also from other services (4) Any person who has once served on such positions / posts should not be given another extension or appointed on any other regular commission appointment where he is to be paid salary / pay/ perks/ out of the public exchequer , after his tenure is completed or he seizes to hold the earlier posting ( 5) No officer in the ranks of IAS/IPS/IRS should be allowed to take voluntary retirement one year before elections to parliament/ legislature / contest election on the ticket of the then ruling party within six months after retirement.
Such like checks and balances need be thought of and can be deliberated publicly, but India cannot afford to lose more of time when questions on appointments are being raised even in 2020s.
(The writer is a Sr Journalist & and a social activist).

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