Karnataka: Council Secretariat ignores Finance Department letter, violates recruitment rules

The letter also mentions that as per a circular issued in 2005, Group D and drivers have to be appointed through agencies which is being followed by all departments.
Image used for representational purposes only.
Image used for representational purposes only.Illustration | Soumyadip Sinha

BENGALURU: The Karnataka Legislative Council Secretariat has been accused of violating the Finance Department’s directives and cadre and recruitment rules in recruiting security guards, sweepers and drivers.

Despite a Finance Department directive to withdraw the notification to recruit Group D employees through interviews, the council secretariat has gone ahead and is expected to complete the hiring process in two to three weeks.

The Council Secretariat issued the notification for recruitment in March this year. It had called for applications on March 3 and the last date to apply was April 5. It mentioned in the notification that three posts of drivers will be filled through Regional Transport Office (RTO), while 29 Group D posts will be appointed through direct interviews.

In March, the Finance Department wrote to the Secretariat, urging it to withdraw the notification. The Finance Department Undersecretary, as per directions of the additional chief secretary, wrote to the Secretary to the Karnataka Legislative Council, stating that the Secretariat has sought approval from the Finance Department, but there is no provision for direct recruitment in the government. “In spite of that, the notification has been issued,” it stated.

The letter also mentions that as per a circular issued in 2005, Group D and drivers have to be appointed through agencies which is being followed by all departments. The notification issued by the Secretariat should be withdrawn immediately, it pointed out.

Interestingly, a Gazette notification issued in 2022 by the Karnataka Legislative Council on the Karnataka Legislative Council Secretariat (Recruitment and Conditions of Service of Officers and Employees) Rules, 2021, states that there shall be no interviews for selection of Group D posts. Sources from the Secretariat said that in spite of this, they are gearing up for interviews which is leading to allegations of corruption.

Secretariat sources said the notification has not been withdrawn yet and the process is still on. “Applications are being scrutinised and it is expected to be completed over the next few weeks,” the sources said. They said they will conduct interviews as it was “insisted” by higher authorities in the Council.

Meanwhile, a Bengaluru-based advocate has sent a legal notice to the Secretary and Additional Secretary of the Council, seeking details of the recruitment notification. A copy of the legal notice available with The New Indian Express says, “The advocate has been informed that large-scale corruption is taking place in the Council Secretariat by offering promises to the unemployed youth by receiving bribes from them, ensuring them highest marks in the interview. The reason for this is that the notification prescribes the mode of selection by interview, instead of merit.”

The advocate warned that if the notification is not withdrawn or no reply is filed to his letter, the matter will be brought before the concerned constitutional court by way of Public Interest Litigation against the concerned.

When contacted, Council Chairman Basavaraj Horatti said these are sanctioned posts and the approval from the Finance Department is not needed. “The Finance Department has no power to write to the Council Chairman,” he added.

But he admitted that it was a mistake to mention in the notification that the recruitment would be through interviews. “We have received over 7,000 applications and they have paid money for the application through DD. We don’t know what to do at this juncture and we are seeking opinion from the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR) for rectification,” he added.

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