HC annuls ‘select list’ of Agri dept

‘Job scam’ woes for Govt

SHILLONG: In a set back to the State Government, the High Court of Meghalaya on Friday quashed the ‘select list’ prepared by the Agriculture department for various posts exposing a ‘scam’ in the appointment process by the Meghalaya Public Service Commission (MPSC).

Earlier in April this year, the Court had issued a stay order against appointments in various vacant posts in the Agriculture department.

The Judge T.N.K. Singh, while hearing the case on Friday on merit set aside the select list prepared by the Government.

As many as 36 candidates, who had applied for various posts, had filed a writ petition before the Court earlier this year.

The advocate for the petitioners, N. Syngkon, said that the candidates were compelled to file the writ petition since there were many discrepancies in the appointment process for filling up of vacant posts in the Agriculture department.

According to the petitioners, the MPSC had cancelled the written test at the last minute and decided to directly conduct the personal interviews violating the norms.

Moreover, there were allegations that unqualified candidates, who were earlier rejected, were allowed to appear in the personal interview.

Adding to the petitioners, adding to the scam, in contravention of the rules in the advertisement, seven of the unqualified candidates were placed in the list of successful candidates and were made eligible for appointments.

The advertisement had stated that the applications of all the unqualified candidates would automatically stand rejected.

It was on April 20, 2012, that an advertisement was issued for appointments to 16 posts of Grade III, Meghalaya Agriculture Service, but the written test fixed for February 7, 2014, was cancelled arbitrarily by MPSC by changing the selection process.

The MPSC later notified 49 vacancies instead of the previous 16 in an alleged attempt to make backdoor appointments through personal interviews instead of the written tests.

The MPSC subsequently invited candidates for personal interviews without holding written examination. The interviews were conducted from February 17-21 after issuing a rejection list of several candidates. The result was declared on February 28.

The posts included Agriculture Development Officers, Horticulture Development Officers and Scientific Officer under the Agriculture department.

What was shocking for the affected petitioners was that seven candidates whose applications were rejected were included in the list of qualified candidates for the posts.

Earlier, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who holds the Agriculture portfolio, had denied in the Assembly during the Budget session this year that there was any favouritism shown on the part of the MPSC in the appointment of 49 vacant posts in the Agriculture department.

The Chief Minister, laying a statement in the Assembly on a call attention moved by Chokpot legislator Clifford R Marak on the job scam, had said that the eligibility criteria for any recruitment to any vacancies arising in any department were set by that department and such criteria is prescribed in the service rules.

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