M A I N   N E W S

Selection, PSEB style
Written test waived for law officers
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
Incredible, but true. The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) altered the process of selecting law officers to make it more subjective. In fact, the authorities dropped the condition of holding a written test mentioned in an advertisement issued for recruiting the officers. They rather directed that the selection would be made on the basis of interviews.

The changes were carried out through an office circular. It was issued a fortnight after the last date of submitting application forms as specified in the advertisement.

This was not all. The PSEB authorities allowed grade-II law officers — working on contract basis — to apply for the posts, even though the vacancies were to be filled up from among the serving employees.

Legal experts were of the opinion that contractual employees could not be treated as regular or serving employees. This was evident from the fact that their services could be terminated at any given point of time after following the due procedure.

Apprehending the worse, some of the employees reportedly addressed a communique to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. A copy of the same was forwarded to Punjab’s Director-General of Police Lalit Bhatia — in charge of PSEB’s internal vigilance.

When contacted, Mr Bhatia said he had indeed received a complaint, but refused to divulge the details. PSEB Chairman Y.S. Ratra did not comment on the issue. The Board’s Secretary, Ms Jaspreet Talwar, said decision against holding the written test was taken as the number of candidates was less than the number of vacancies.

She added that the proper procedure was being followed and the decison to allow contractual employees to apply was with the board’s approval.

Though the authorities vehemently denied it, sources in the PSEB insisted that the process of selecting 10 law officers was not entirely free from “irregularities and administrative mala fides”. They added that candidates without having push and pull would not be able to make it.

Going into the background of the matter, the sources said the written test — comprising objective and multiple choice questions — was to carry 90 per cent marks as specified in advertisement number CRA 252/05 issued by PSEB’s Secretary in charge of the recruitment section. Ten per cent marks were for the interview.

In fact, the advertisement had clearly mentioned that the general category candidates were required to secure a minimum of 50 per cent for qualifying the “initial recruitment written test of competitive nature”. For the candidates belonging to the reserved category, the qualifying marks were 40 per cent.

The officers were to be appointed in the pay scale of Rs 6300-Rs 10,700. The last date for submitting the application forms was March 15. The test was expected to be conducted sometime in May.

The authorities, instead of following the schedule, issued a circular stating that the condition of holding the test was being waived off. Moreover, the last date of submitting the application forms was being extended. The circular added that the decisions were taken during PSEB’s meeting.

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