Government does a U-turn, decides to accept KAT order on KPSC appointments

The Cabinet on Wednesday accepted the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal (KAT) order on the recruitment of 2011 batch gazetted probationers. This is like taking a U-turn on its earlier decision to scrap the entire list of 362 candidates.

The Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah decided to accept the October 2016 order of KAT and not to appeal against it. “The KAT has rejected all the charges made by CID in its report on the alleged irregularities in the recruitment by Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC). The Cabinet has accepted the order in the interest of administration (sic),” Law Minister T B Jayachandra told reporters after the meeting.

The Siddaramaiah government had, in August 2014, taken a decision to annul the KPSC-selected final list of 362 candidates for the posts of Group A and B gazette probationers based on the CID investigation. The CID had found large-scale irregularities in recruitment and also sought the prosecution of former KPSC chairman Gonal Bhimappa and other members for their involvement in the scam.

The decision to scrap the recruitment list was taken despite stiff opposition from the candidates and Opposition parties, the BJP and the JD(S). The government had claimed that it had taken a historical decision to send out a strong message to those who indulge in corrupt practices. A section of aggrieved candidates had challenged the government’s decision in KAT. The Tribunal had, in its order, directed the government to sift through the 362 candidates and appoint non-tainted candidates.

Jayachandra, however, did not clarify whether all 362 candidates will be appointed immediately. Advocate General Madhusudan Naik had, in his recent report to the government, listed 46 candidates as tainted based on the CID report. However, the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR) had recommended to the Cabinet to appeal against the KAT order.

The minister said the government will go ahead with the implementation of the Hota committee report to bring in reforms in KPSC. Sources in the government said some senior ministers in the meeting advised the chief minister to go by the DPAR’s recommendation and challenge the KAT order in the court. The ministers were of the view that the government will have to face embarrassment as Opposition parties will claim victory over the issue, the sources said.

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