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WCD dragging feet over action

MORE THAN two months after the Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court pointed out that the appointments made on the post of Assistant Grade I in 1998 in the Department of Women and Child Development were ?not in conformity with the rules?, the Department has taken no action saying, ?We are still looking into the matter.?

india Updated: Nov 25, 2006 17:10 IST

MORE THAN two months after the Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court pointed out that the appointments made on the post of Assistant Grade I in 1998 in the Department of Women and Child Development were ‘not in conformity with the rules’, the Department has taken no action saying, “We are still looking into the matter.”

Six Assistant Grade II employees, all from the Indore office of the Department, had filed a writ petition in the Indore HC bench stating that the post of Assistant Grade I was required to be filled through promotions only. However, 17 people were directly recruited in 1998 flouting the norms.

The aggrieved employees claimed that the direct appointments have hampered their chances of promotion to the post. They also submitted related documents to the Court along with the petition.

Responding to the writ petition, Justice J K Maheshwari on September 20, 2006, directed the government to take a final decision within four months on the representation of the petitioners in accordance with the provisions of Women and Child Development Department Class III (Ministerial) Service Recruitment Rules 1993, that makes it mandatory to fill the post of Assistant Grade I by way of 100 per cent promotion.

When contacted in Bhopal over telephone Woman and Child Development Department Principal Secretary Prashant Mehta first declined to comment saying, “Why should we respond to you, we will tell the Court whatever we have to.”
However, after a written request, Mehta said, “We are still looking into the matter. We still have two months. However, as on today, we are unable to tell what action is being taken.”

After the three-year tenure for Overseas Development Agency (ODA) expired, many of the persons engaged on contract for ODA got appointments to the Assistant Grade I post in the department in 1998 allegedly through unfair means like flouting age and qualifications norms. It is also alleged that money changed hands and that the appointments were made with the knowledge of the then Woman and Child Minister Jamuna Devi, who is currently the Leader of Opposition.

In fact, after the court’s decision two months ago, the Assistant Grade I employees allegedly also prevented the petitioners from getting a copy of the court’s decision, it has been alleged.

All the 17 respondents are posted in the Directorate, Woman and Child Development Department, at various places. The Department would have a tough time dealing with the court’s directive and these persons, enjoying important posts, may also lose jobs if the authorities now find that the appointments were not made in conformity with the rules.

Meanwhile, one of the respondents currently posted at Indore, speaking on conditions of anonymity, said, “Our appointments were made in accordance with the HC Indore bench’s directives to the Madhya Pradesh Government in 1998.”

“We have spent our golden years in the Overseas Development Agency. All of us are competent and eligible for the post. There is a feeling of insecurity among the petitioners, who are work-shirkers. Further, as few of us have been posted to Indore, they would have to go out of Indore if promoted and they don’t want to do so.” He also claimed that none of the respondents had received any notice after the court’s order.