Courtesy: Sikkim Express
Surgery needed for ‘creamy layer’ malady. Trouble signal as scores of MBC, OBC employees from affluent background got hired since 2004
Faced with a situation that called for a careful surgery, the Sikkim government has gone for an amputation terminating the services of two undersecretaries appointed in 2008. This could lighten up a chain reaction razing down scores of incumbent government employees, most of whom gazetted officers, due to the newly discovered bug: creamy layer provision in reserved categories of Other Backward Class (MBC) and Most Backward Class (MBC).
Food & Civil Supplies undersecretaries Onissa Dechhen Gurung (MBC) and State Transport undersecretaries Bina Devi Sharma (OBC) were served termination letters by the Department of Personnel (DoP) last Friday. The letter stated that their appointment orders given in 2008 have been cancelled. They had been recruited as Junior Grade officers in the Sikkim State Civil Service along with 38 other candidates.
The DoP also directed the departmental heads to relieve Ms Sharma and Miss Gurung from their service. The cancellation of their appointment orders comes after the High Court on September 17 endorsed the decision of concerned District authorities to cancel the OBC and MBC certificates issued to Ms Sharma and Miss Gurung respectively on the grounds that they belong to the creamy layer.
Creamy layer rule applies to those individuals under reserved category whose parents are Class I officers of the rank of joint secretary and above in State or Central Government. Such sections are to be excluded from the reservation benefits as per the guidelines of the Supreme Court. They have to compete in general category for government vacancies.
With service termination of Ms Sharma and Miss Gurung becoming a fait accompli, doubts have germinated among the educated unemployed youth here that there must be scores of government employees of creamy layer background appointed from reserved categories of OBC and MBC. If such employees are dug out in coming future by the candidates who could make not achieve selection then similar yardstick must be adopted for such MBC and OBC creamy layer employees as it has been done in the case of two terminated undersecretaries.
The OBC certificates issued to Ms Sharma was cancelled by sub divisional magistrate of Pakyong, East Sikkim in 2009. The MBC certificate issued to Miss Gurung was cancelled by West District Magistrate in 2010. Their fathers were senior officials in the State government.
While endorsing the decision of the district authorities to cancel the OBC and MBC certificates of Ms Sharma and Miss Gurung, the single bench of Chief Justice PD Dinakaran did not issue any specific orders on the future of two undersecretaries. The court cited legal precedents of the Supreme Court mentioning that it is a settled law that once the certificates on basis whereof the respondent obtained employment stood cancelled, no question on allowing to continue in the service would arise.
The court had ordered the State government to pass appropriate orders in respect of Khemraj Bhattarai and Kumari Baby Mukhia, the two petitioners who had challenged the appointment orders of Ms Sharma and Miss Gurung contending that they both belong to creamy layer of MBC and OBC respectively and had prayed their appointment orders be cancelled.
Mr Bhattarai and Miss Mukhia were the next in merit list behind Ms Sharma and Miss Gurung respectively in the OBC and MBC category for total of 40 selected candidates announced by the Sikkim State Civil Services 2007-2008. There were eight MBC reservation including two for women. Five seats were reserved for OBC which included one for women. Both Mr Bhattarai and Miss Mukhia had got appointments on the strength of their community certificates issued by the concerned district authorities.
Both the petitioners had prayed the court that they should be inducted into Sikkim State Civil Services as Junior Grade officers in place of Ms Sharma and Miss Gurung as their community certificates has been cancelled and since they were next in the merit list.
In its order , the High Court has directed the Sikkim government to pass appropriate order over the petition filed by Mr Bhattarai and Miss Mukhia within 30 days.
Regarding the fate of Ms Sharma and Miss Gurung, officials here were depending on the interpretation of State’s legal counsel on the judgement and observations of High Court.
The government files are moving to induct Mr Bhattarai in place of Ms Sharma in the Junior Grade Officer of Sikkim State Civil Services. In between, there are information that the MBC certificate issued to Miss Mukhia has also been cancelled by South Distrcit authorities on creamy layer ground on October 04 as her father was found owning a RCC building at Urban area of Jorethang, South Sikkim. This means, that one post is now vacant among the 40 posts of undersecretaries.
However, the decision of the State government to terminate the two undersecretaries after the community certificates were cancelled could affect hundreds of government appointments from lower divisional clerk to gazette rank from 2004 from the reserved categories of MBC and OBC as many of them do fall under creamy layer, sources informed. The state government had notified MBC and OBC members in December, 2003.
Those affected includes deputy superintendents of police, assistant conservators of forest, medical officers, engineers and post graduate teachers appointed by the state government in the past six years, government officials here admitted. They also admitted that such creamy layer angle had caught the government by surprise as such termination decision had to be taken for the first time. Not many officials were aware of the consequence of creamy layer provision for OBC and MBC and the need to properly scrutinize before issuing such certificates, it was informed.
A certain section of the educated youth who had been observing keenly the things that have unfolded on the creamy layer issue. They are of the belief that the issuing authorities (usually a sub divisional magistrate or district magistrate) should properly scrutinize the applicants while issuing community certificates. “Why should there be only complaints for cancellation of such certificates including Sikkim Subject certificate or Certificates or Certificate of Identification? There should be a mechanism in place to filter out bogus or ignorant claims in the first place itself and thus avoid such mental pressure and embarrassment for the selected candidates”, they said.