State News

Sanjiv takes SSC appointment case to Uttarakhand HC

By IndianMandarins- 01 Mar 2021
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New Delhi (01.03.2021): Governments may change. But their techniques to fix unpliable and uncomfortable officers remain the same. With a slight variance, IFoS officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi has come to face the same situation on the fudging of his date of birth (DOB) as Ret General Vijay Singh, now a Union Minister, faced when he was in service and had to go to the SC at a late stage in his career to get his DOB right on the record.

Here, in the case of Chaturvedi, unknown officials had fudged his DOB and shown it to be August 4, 1962, while his actual date of birth is December 21, 1974. This was apparently done to disqualify him from consideration for the post of member of the Staff Selection Commission, which is the largest recruitment agency in the country in March 2020 on the basis of an open advertisement issued by the Central Government in January 2020.

Not limiting themselves to the fudging of Chaturvedi's DOB, unknown officials also tampered with the date of receiving his application for the post well past the timeline.

So the IFoS officer took the matter to the court to get justice.

Accepting Chaturvedi's plea, a division bench of Uttarakhand High Court Dehradun, headed by Chief Justice Rajendra Singh Chauhan on February 25, 2021, issued notices to the Centre, Uttarakhand government, and Postal Department in connection with forgeries and irregularities conducted in the appointment of Member in the Staff Selection Commission.

The petition of Chaturvedi pointed out that the selection committee declined his candidature on the ground that his application had reached late, that is on May 29, 2021, while the last date was March 23, 2020.

However, the speed post tracking report enclosed with the petition shows that the Uttarakhand government had forwarded the name of Sanjiv Chaturvedi for the said post on March 19, 2020, which was received in the office of the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) on March 20, 2020.

The petition further states that the selection committee, which was then headed by the then-Secretary, DOPT, C Chandramouli, and consisted of establishment officer Srinivas Ramaswamy and additional secretaries namely Sujata Chaturvedi and Lok Ranjan also declined to accept Chaturvedi's post-graduate diploma from Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, Dehradun, as a post-graduate degree, while the gazette notification issued by the central government in April 1998 clearly declared that an 'IGNFA' Diploma was to be treated as an equivalent to M Sc (Forestry)' degree.

The petition shows that Ashok Kumar, a 1991 batch officer of Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS), who was finally selected for this post, has not even completed the mandatory cooling-off period of three years. As per the appointment order issued in September 2020, this mandatory cooling-off period requirement was relaxed in his case by DOPT.

The petition also mentions the instructions issued by the DOPT in the year 2013, where it was clearly mentioned that names of only those officers have to be forwarded for deputation who have completed mandatory cooling-off period, and in exceptional cases where this requirement is to be relaxed, detailed justification has to be sent and prior concurrence of DOPT has to be sought, which was not done in this case.

The petition points out that the ACC in its meeting held on July 10, 2020, had shortlisted five candidates for interview and finally approved the name of Ashok Kumar.

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