Meghalaya HC stays all fresh govt recruitment process

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The Meghalaya High Court has stayed all fresh recruitment processes of the state government until a roster system is put in place, a court official said on Wednesday.

The court in a strongly worded order said that it is alarming that despite 50 years of the formation of the state, and 50 years of reservation in state government jobs, there is no roster system yet.

Hearing a writ petition, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and justice W. Diengdoh on Tuesday observed that the absence of a roster system is a “deplorable state of affairs”, where the absence of any roster system leaves open possibilities of nepotism and arbitrariness and worse forms of subversion.

Indeed, this bench of the High Court was constrained to raise a question in the course of a recent matter as to how the reservation policy could be implemented without a roster, it said.

The High Court order said that it is surprising that there are bureaucrats in place and there have been bureaucrats for the last 50 years and it did not dawn on any one of them to ensure that the roster system was put in place before the reservation policy could be appropriately implemented.

“In view of such deplorable state of affairs, where the absence of any roster system leaves open possibilities of nepotism and arbitrariness and worse forms of subversion, the further recruitment processes for all posts in the state will remain stayed in the sense that no further appointments will be made until the roster system is put in place.The rosters are prepared in respect of all posts whereupon, after applying the reservation policy, future recruitment can be conducted by adhering to the ratio of reservation.”

The High Court ordered that a copy of this order must be reached to the Chief Secretary in course of the day for the Chief Secretary to indicate what steps have been taken when this matter appears next.

“This aspect of the matter will be considered as a suo-motu public interest litigation.”

“Upon inquiry, it is discovered that it is the same distressing feature in the matter of recruitment in this High Court over the last decade of its existence. Learned Advocate for the state admits that there are no lists pertaining to posts for any assessment of what category of candidates ought to be next recruited,” the Meghalaya High Court said.

The state’s Advocate-General acknowledged that reservation cannot be implemented without a roster and also refers to the relevant constitution bench judgment.

The court said that it is also noticed that several of the notifications and official memoranda that have been relied upon by the parties in the present matter are littered with mistakes, mistakes that should not have happened if proper mind was applied to the matters in issue.

The reservation policy matter will be heard again on April 20.

Tribals constitute 86.1 per cent of the little over three million population in Meghalaya.

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