June 11, 2019 06:30 AM NPT
By: Ashok Dahal
SAC directive to hire staffers on contract against law
KATHMANDU, June 11: The State Affairs Committee (SAC) of the parliament on Monday directed the government and the Public Service Commission (PSC) to scrap the recently-announced vacancies for civil servants at various local units on Monday.
The parliamentary committee said the vacancy announcement was against the spirit of the constitution and the principles of inclusive representation of all communities and genders in the state bodies.
The PSC on May 29 had announced vacancies for 9,161 civil servants in various positions at 515 various local units. Immediately after this, lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties and Province 2 government protested alleging that the announcement does not ensure adequate reservation for women, Madhesi, indigenous-ethnic, Dalits and other backward communities. They also said the announcement was in breach of the rights of the provincial PSCs to recruit civil servants at local units.
Minister for Federal Affairs and General Administration Lalbabu Pandit however told the committee on Monday that the vacancy announcement is in line with the constitution and will not be withdrawn.
“The committee directs the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration (MOFAGA) and PSC (under the Article 293 of the constitution) to immediately scrap the vacancy announcement as it appears to be against the spirit of the constitution,” reads the decision of the SAC.
Article 293 of the constitution has stated that 'the committees of the House of Representatives may monitor and evaluate the functioning, including the reports of the constitutional bodies, other than the National Human Rights Commission, and give necessary direction or advice.'
The PSC is yet to take decision upon the directive of the parliamentary panel. Minister for Federal Affairs and General Administration Lalbabu Pandit however told the committee on Monday that the vacancy announcement is in line with the constitution and will not be withdrawn.
Committee chair Shashi Shrestha said that PSC vacancy announcement also contradicts the Local Governance Act which has envisioned that recruitment at the local units should be initiated based on the need of the local units concerned after civil servants adjustment.
According to Minister Pandit, by Monday over 100,000 individuals have already filed their applications in response the the announcement. Minister Pandit was of the view that the recruitment process was initiated under the Civil Servants Adjustment Act to address the manpower crunch at the local units.
As majority of the lawmakers insisted on scrapping the vacancies, the minister left the committee after presenting his views.
Even the lawmakers from the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) were divided over whether to issue directive to scrap the PSC vacancy announcement. NCP lawmaker Bijay Subba registered his note of dissent on the committee direction while Jhapat Rawal and Nawaral Silwal from the same party opposed the decision.
Meanwhile, a directive of the SAC to the ministry to allow the local units to hire staffers on contract has been found to be in breach of the Section 83(8) of the Local Governance Act.
The law bars the local units from hiring staffers other than technical ones--municipal police, drivers and office assistants among others -- on contract. But the committee directive reads that 'MOFAGA is directed to arrange appointment of staffers on contract for respective local levels based on certain standard until the permanent recruitment…'
Similarly the SAC has also directed the ministry to initiate the recruitment process only after Organization and Management survey at the local units ensuring the proportional inclusive representation.