Controversy Erupts Over Re-constitution Of PSC

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Ex-head Deva writes to CS, calls government’s action as ‘brazen violation’ of Re-Organisation Act

Nasir Azam

Srinagar: A major controversy has erupted over re-constitution of the Public Service Commission (PSC) in Jammu &Kashmir, with its outgoing head terming the government’s action as “brazen violation” of the J&K Re-Organization Act.

According to wire service—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Lateef-Ul-Zaman Deva, former PSC head, in his letter sent to Chief Secretary, has questioned the move, citing different provisions of the Re-Organisation law.

A copy of the letter has also been sent to Raj Bhavan. Deva was heading PSC before government ordered its re-constitution on November 22.

Invoking clause 16 of J&K Re-Organisation (Removal of Difficulties) Order, the government last month removed chairman and members of PSC. The clause invoked by the government states that any person who have taken oath under J&K constitution shall continue to hold office till October 31, the day when erstwhile State was bifurcated.

“Any person who has taken oath or made an affirmation before holding office or position as such under the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir or any other law in force in the existing state of Jammu & Kashmir immediately before the appointed day shall be deemed to have taken oath or affirmation under the Constitution of India or any other law applicable to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Union Territory of Ladakh , and shall continue to hold office or position  as such till the appointed day,” reads clause 16 of J&K Re-Organisation( removal of difficulties) order.

However, the Re-Organisation Act gives legal cover to continuation of chairman and members of the PSC. “The persons holding office immediately before the appointed day as the chairman or other member of the Public Service Commission for the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir shall, as from the appointed day, be the Chairman or, as the case may be, the other member of the Public Service Commission for the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, “reads sub-section (3) of section 93 of J&K Re-Organisation Act.

Questioning the move, Deva, in the letter, has pointed out that clause 16 of J&K Re-Organisation( Removal of Difficulties) Order cannot apply to the PSC. “He has stated that this clause is inconsistent with Re-Organisation Act if it is applied to PSC,” an official told KNO.

Under section 103 of the Re-Organisation Act the President is empowered to remove difficulties in its implementation, but the actions under this provision should not be inconsistent with provisions of the Act. The J&K Re-Organistion (Removal of Difficulties) Order was issued by the President of India on October 30 under section 103 of the Re-organisation Act. (KNO)

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