ESIC on the wrong path, now: The middle management misleads !!

The speed with which the ESIC moves ahead to hold the DPC meetings for promotion to the posts of Senior Nursing Officers (by still calling them as Nursing Sisters) and Assistant Nursing Superintendents is worrisome. It is a clear violation of law on the subject, especially when the UPSC has assumed jurisdiction over that issue on 05.07.2019. When the authorities of a public organisation do not care for law, it is the citizenry which has to step in. A letter is, therefore, written to the UPSC inviting its attention to the ongoings in the ESIC. The powers vested in a Constitutional Body cannot be exercised by the Statutory Body. It is ultra vires and unlawful.

All those interested in Rule of Law in the ESIC may just copy the post and forward it to the UPSC. 

Serving employees to stay away please.

========================================================

The letter sent to the UPSC on 31.07.2019 is reproduced here:

31.07.2019

To

The Secretary,
Union Public Service Commission,
Dholpur House,
Shahjahan Road,
New Delhi 110069.
email: secyoffice-upsc@gov.in

 

Sub: Recruitment Regulations – Promotion to the post of Senior Nursing Officers – Group B –  usurping the role of the UPSC – by the ESIC – complaint – lodged.

 

Ref: 1.     Memo No. A/12/11/1/2017-Med. VI dated 04.05.2017 of the Hqrs. Office, ESI Corporation, New Delhi.

2.     Letter No. 3/12 (8) /2019 – RR dated 05.07.2019 of the Union Public Service Commission addressed to the Director General, ESI Corporation, New Delhi.

3.     Letter No. A/11/11/12/2018-Med. VI. dated 12.07.2019 of the Hqrs. Office, ESI Corporation, New Delhi.

Sir,

1. I submit that the Office of the ESI Corporation had published, in its website, a Memo dated 04.05.2017 inviting comments from stakeholders, on the draft Recruitment Regulations for the posts of Staff Nurse, Nursing Sister and Assistant Nursing Superintendent in the ESI Corporation. Thereafter the draft RRs had, obviously, been sent to the DOPT and then to the UPSC for their approval and concurrence.

2. The UPSC has, recently, conveyed its concurrence to the aforesaid Recruitment Regulations in its letter dated 05.07.2019. In all probability, that letter of the UPSC would have reached the Hqrs. Office of the ESI Corporation, at least before 9th or 10th of July 2019.

3. As per these Recruitment Regulations, approved by the UPSC, promotion to the posts of Assistant Nursing Superintendent and Senior Nursing Officer from the respective feeder cadres can be made only by the UPSC. When this provision has come into effect already, on receipt of the UPSC’s letter dated 05.07.2019, and the UPSC has, already, assumed jurisdiction over the promotion of the Nursing Officers to the cadre of Senior Nursing Officers, the Hqrs. Office of the ESI Corporation has attempted to unlawfully meddle with the procedure and usurp that jurisdiction of the UPSC by making vigorous efforts to hold DPC at its level itself, in-house. This becomes, clearly, evident from the letter dated 12.07.2019 sent by the Assistant Director (M.A) of the Hqrs. Office of the ESI Corporation to the Regional Directors of the ESI Corporation. Hence, this complaint.

ESIC letter 12 07 2019

4. I submit that the law on the subject is that the Recruitment Regulations pertaining to any post in the ESI Corporation come into existence immediately after they were framed / amended with the approval of the competent authority. The authorities of the ESI Corporation cannot, therefore, postpone arbitrarily, the date of enforcement of the approved Recruitment Regulations, by citing the non-publication of the said Regulations in the Gazette. Because, Sec. 97 (2A) of the ESI Act, 1948 mandates that

“The condition of previous publication shall not apply to any regulations of the nature specified in clause (xxi) of sub-section (2)”.

Sec.97.2. (xxi) is about the rule-making power of the ESI Corporation regarding the conditions of service of the employees of the ESI Corporation and I reproduce below the concerned Sec. 97 (2) (xxi) of the ESI Act, 1948 for your kind ready reference:

“(xxi). the method of recruitment, pay and allowances, discipline, superannuation benefits and other conditions of service of the officers and servants of the Corporation other than the Director-General and the Financial Commissioner”.

5. It would thus become clear that the Recruitment Regulations for the post of Nursing Officers, Senior Nursing Officers and others in the same cadre, as approved by the UPSC on 05.07.2019 had, already, come into effect on the date the Hqrs. Office had received that communication. Although the UPSC had mentioned that it must be published in the Gazette within 10 weeks, that does not and cannot have the overriding effect on Sec. 97 (2A) of the ESI Act, 1948, which is a statutory provision. Moreover, what the UPSC had done by mentioning the phrase “10 weeks” was to remind, in a routine manner, every department of the need for publication in the Gazette. The UPSC had not, apparently, been aware of Sec. 97 (2A) of the ESI Act, 1948, which the ESIC authorities knew, very well.

6. In the context, I would like to invite your attention to Sec. 95 which deals with the rule-making power of the Central Government and Sec. 96 of the ESI Act which with the rule-making power of the State Governments. Sec. 95 (3) says that the

“Rules made under this section shall be published in the Official Gazette and thereupon shall have effect as if enacted in this Act”. 

Likewise, Sec. 96 (2) says that the

“Rules made under this section shall be published in the official Gazette and thereupon shall have effect as if enacted in this Act”.

Similarly, Sec. 97 (3) also says that the

“Regulations made by the Corporation shall be published in the Gazette of India and thereupon shall have effect as if enacted in this Act”.

7. However, Sec. 97 (2A) is in sharp contrast to these provisions. The condition of previous publication has, categorically and consciously, been dispensed with, as per this sub-section, in respect of Recruitment Regulations, among others, mentioned in Sec 97 (2) (xxi). In short, the condition of previous publication shall not apply to the Recruitment Regulation.

8. The sum and substance of these facts is that the Recruitment Regulations approved by the UPSC and conveyed to the Director General of the ESI Corporation on 05.07.2019 have already come into effect, even without their being published in the Gazette.

9. It is only that RR which had been approved by the UPSC and sent to the ESIC on 05.09.2017 which can be called as the “Existing Recruitment Regulations” as on 12.07.2019. In that event, there can be no role for the Regional Directors of the ESI Corporation to convene DPCs for the posts of Senior Nursing Officers and Assistant Nursing Superintendents. The direction of the Assistant Director (MA) in his letter dated 12.07.2019 addressed to the Regional Directors of the ESI Corporation to “hold DPCs of various Nursing ….posts as per existing Recruitment Regulations of the post concerned” is, therefore, patently unlawful and ultra vires.

10. I submit that there can be no difficulty, at all, for the ESIC to get the promotions done through UPSC, to the posts of Senior Nursing Officers and the Assistant Nursing Superintendents. The very important fact is that the DOPT has, after elaborate consultation with the UPSC, issued its O.M. No. AB-14017/79/2006-Estt. (RR) dated 06.09.2007 laying stress on the existing RRs until they are formally amended. It is apparent that the middle management of the ESI Corporation has not placed all the relevant facts in the right perspective before the higher authorities of the ESIC in its desire to hurry up their unlawful action process and hush up the legitimate role provided in it for the UPSC.

11. I, therefore, request you to kindly intercede and ensure that the promotions to the posts of Senior Nursing Officers and Assistant Nursing Superintendents in the ESI Corporation are made as per law only by the UPSC, as per the existing Recruitment Regulations, which had been approved by the UPSC on 05.07.2019. The action of the Assistant Director (MA) of the Hqrs. Office, ESI Corporation, in having directed the Regional Directors to hold DPC as per the “existing” RRs is not correct, as he is unlawfully usurping the role of the UPSC and is preventing the UPSC from discharging its legitimate duty, when it has assumed jurisdiction in the matter of promotion of these Nursing personnel, as per the really “existing” RRs which came into existence after its approval by the UPSC and receipt by the ESIC.

12. I understand that the UPSC is going to recruit Nursing personnel taking into account not only the vacancies in the ESIC but also in other departments of the Central Government Hospitals. The UPSC takes up such assignments only when the indent is large. And, it was because the year-wise vacancies were small, the UPSC had refused, in the year 1975, to take up the work of recruitment of Insurance Inspectors in the ESIC and advised the ESIC to keep that cadre in Group ‘C’. That situation continues till date in the ESIC. But, the Nurses cadre in the ESIC is sufficiently large and the UPSC can club the vacancies in the cadre together with the vacancies in the RML Hospital, AIIMS, and Safdarjang hospitals and others and conduct examination for all the vacancies together and streamline the recruitment more professionally.

13. Besides, a Statutory Body cannot exercise the power taken away from it and vested in a Constitutional Body. But, the ESIC is trying to exercise the power vested in the UPSC. This letter is, now, written by me to the UPSC, because, in the given circumstances when the middle management of the ESIC is misleading the top management, only the UPSC’s intervention can provide instant remedy.

14. There is another course open to the public to get remedy through the court of law too. But, the ESIC, as a rule, does not file counter in such PILs in time, unless there is stay. In an issue involving Rs. 10,000 crores, when the Cabinet Secretary and the Secretary, Ministry of Labour have filed counter-affidavits, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and the Director General of the ESIC have not filed counter-affidavits for the past two and a half years The case numbers are W.P. 33775 of 2016 & W.P. 35284 of 2016 before the Hon’ble High Court of Madras at Chennai.

15. But, I submit that the legal remedy through Court of Law will, necessarily, be resorted to if the ESIC tries to exclude the UPSC, through amendment to Sec. 17 (3) of the ESI Act, 1948 and go back to its original system of recruiting Nursing personnel at its level itself. But, until such amendments are made in the ESI Act, it is only the UPSC which should convene the DPCs for promotions and direct recruitments, as per the existing Recruitment Regulations approved by the UPSC on 05.07.2019. Its powers cannot be allowed to be usurped by the officials of the ESI Corporation.

16. I, therefore, request you to kindly intercede and stop the officials of the ESIC from going further with their misadventure of promoting Nurses, in-house, with reference to Para 4 of the letter No. A/11/11/12/2018-Med. VI. dated 12.07.2019 of the Assistant Director (M.A) of the Hqrs. Office, ESI Corporation, New Delhi.

Yours faithfully,

Encl: Letter dated 12.07.2019of the Hqrs, office, ESIC.

(R. Natarajan)

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