Minister's bid to defend officials who denied job to Nisha cuts no ice

Nisha Balakrishnan taking part in the symbolic “mud eating feast” staged by rank holders in front of the Secretariat in March 2018. Nisha is at centre with her head covered with a green shawl. This photo was published on March 22, 2018: Manorama Online

Kollam: A concerted move is likely on to protect officials of the Department of Urban Affairs whose apparently malicious act dashed the hopes of a Chavara native to secure a deserving Kerala Government job. 

It is alleged that the government is attempting to save the officials as they belong to an organization supportive of the government. As reported the other day, the latter scuttled the appointment of Nisha Balakrishnan by reporting the vacancy at midnight on the very date of expiry of the Kerala Public Service Commission (PSC) rank list.

The arguments by M B Rajesh, Minister for Local Self-Government, who tried to wash his hands of the issue by putting the blame on the PSC sounds hollow.

On late reporting of vacancies 

On the reporting of vacancies the Minister claimed. "the officials responsible for the appointment of clerks in 14 districts had taken steps on an urgent basis on March 31, 2018, the day the rank list which included Nisha Balakrishnan of Chavara, Kollam, who was denied the job, and others, would expire."

In order to obtain the approval of the head of the department, the officials went to his residence at 11.30 pm and got his signature. Following this, vacancies were reported to all district offices by email from 11.36 p.m. The reports were sent to Kannur and Ernakulam districts at 12 midnight. The appointment was made in Kannur.

The PSC declined to make the appointment in Ernakulam saying that the mail was received at 12.04 a.m.

But what was the need to go to the residence of the department head at night to seek permission for reporting the vacancies when his office was open from 10 am to 5 pm.  

Additionally, candidates including Nisha had reached the Urban Affairs department in Thiruvananthapuram on March 28, 2018, and reminded clerk Binu Raj of the establishment department to report the vacancies to the PSC on the same day. March 29 and 30 were holidays.

When the officials were called several times during the day on March 31, the constant reply was that they would do it. No one picked up the phone when calls were made in the afternoon.

Retaliation for strike?

Was Nisha avenged for participating in a stir by PSC rank-holders? The Minister trashed such an angle stating that "the strike by the rank-holders took place in January 2021. It is senseless to charge that appointment was denied to the candidate who figured on a rank list that had expired three years earlier."

In fact candidates, including Nisha, had participated in the agitation by rank-holders in front of the Secretariat in March 2018. The photo accompanying this report validates this. Their demand was to expedite the appointments since the validity of the rank list was set to expire on March 31.

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