Kashmir University has elevated regularised casual workers to senior positions without advertising the posts or conducting examinations, evoking allegations of nepotism, favouritism and corruption.
The workers were promoted to the level of legal assistants and accounts’ assistance.
The University, on June 1 this year, ordered creation of 342 supernumerary posts of helpers and filled them with casual workers already working in various departments of the university.
However, in a month’s time, the University issued orders to elevate some of the recruited workers to the post of legal assistants and data entry operators.
The move has left stakeholders aghast, who accuse the University administration of “institutionalizing nepotism and corruption”.
According to the order issued by Assistant Registrar (General Administration) on June 1, a female candidate in the list of regularized casual workers was posted in the legal cell department as a helper.
A month later, on July 1, the officer issued another order to elevate her to the post of legal assistant in the legal cell department against an available vacancy.
An employee, wishing anonymity, told Rising Kashmir that the posts were not advertised as per rules and everyone knew that “the blue-eyed individuals are being accommodated”.
“In some cases money is involved and in other cases influence is wielded. But the chain starts from the top-most position,” the employee said.
In another case, a male casual worker, regularized as a helper in the south campus, was elevated to the post of accounts’ assistant.
Another female casual worker, regularized as a helper in Dean College Development Council (DCDC) department, was elevated to the post of data entry operator.
The order copy reads that the Vice Chancellor was ‘pleased to authorize the regularization of the candidate as legal assistant or data operator or accounts assistant on the basis of recommendations of a constituted committee’.
A senior faculty member, wishing anonymity, said, “The committee was formulated to facilitate the hassle free accommodation of the blue-eyed candidates and also to cover the wrongdoings.”
“There is a scam being engineered here,” the faculty member said, doubting why the University did not follow a transparent recruitment process.
Meanwhile, Kashmir University’s internal communication documents, copies of which lie with Rising Kashmir, reveal that the University sanctioned appointment of these helpers to higher posts based on the recommendation of the committee, formulated on representations/pleas by regularized casual workers.
The document reads that the post of law officer was converted into legal assistant by the university’s financial advisor in 2015 and following this a committee was formulated to look into ‘repeated pleas made by a helper’ for being adjusted as a law officer.
After meeting qualification criteria listed by the committee, the candidate was elevated to the post of ‘legal assistant’ after being regularized.
The documents do not mention anything about the advertisement of these posts or any written examination. It reads the same recourse was adopted in filling other vacant non-teaching posts.
Assistant Registrar (General Administration), Ghulam Mohammad Rather, told Rising Kashmir that there was a court order that said wherever there is a clear vacancy and a person is engaged on contractual basis against that, then the person can be regularized provided the person fulfils the eligibility criteria.
He further said transparent recruitment process used by the state government did not extend to the University, an ‘autonomous’ body. “The advertisement of posts and written examination is a good practice but KU has its own norms,” he said, adding that the Vice Chancellor formulated the committee to look into the grievance of the candidates and thus the orders were issued. “These candidates were engaged on contractual basis against clear vacancies.”
Public Relations Officer, Faheem Aslam, said the university ‘did not float any norm’ and there was ‘no case of favouritism’.
“The procedures have not been floated and such workers have already completed the prescribed number of years for regularisation as helpers,” Aslam said, adding that wherever someone was engaged on contractual basis, the procedure of regularising was through the committee process.
Pertinently, according to the recruitment norms of the state government, non-teaching posts were to be advertised and a written test conducted for eligible candidates who fulfill the minimum qualification criteria.
Also, meeting the minimum qualification criteria alone could not be a provision for appointment to any government post.