Protests against controversial PSC recruitment process continue till a day before exam

Controversial Public Service Commission vacancy announcement

KATHMANDU, July 18: As the Public Service Commission (PSC) examination is only a day away, hundreds of agitating activists working for the rights of indigenous people, women and Dalits gathered in front of the PSC central office in Anamnagar demanding cancelation of the controversial vacancy announcement. They have argued that the recruitment process fails to ensure inclusive representation as envisaged by the constitution and as demanded by the Federal Civil Service Act.

The PSC, on government’s recommendation, announced a vacancy announcement on May 29 for recruiting 9,161 staffers at 515 local units on a single go.

The recruitment process faced widespread criticisms and allegation for going against the spirit of the constitution and principles of inclusive representation of all communities and gender in the local bodies.

According to Article 285 (2) of the Constitution of Nepal, the positions in the Federal civil service, as well as all Federal government services, shall be filled through competitive examinations, on the basis of open and proportional inclusive principle.  Likewise, the Federal Civil Service Act states that 45 percent of the job vacancies should be filled through a separate competition process between the clusters that qualify for the reservation quotas. Of the 45 percent reservation quotas, 33 percent should be allocated for women, 27 percent for indigenous-ethnic communities, 22 percent for Madhesis, nine percent for Dalits, five percent for differently able people and four percent for backward areas.

Concluding that the vacancy announcement was against the spirit of constitution and principles of inclusive representation of all communities and gender at local units, the parliamentary committee on June 11 directed the government and the PSC to stop the recruitment process.

However, the Supreme Court, responding to the five different writ petitions by advocates Jagdev Chaudhary, Bikash Thakur, Rajaram Ghimire, Janak Bahadur Budha and Kavita Basnet challenging the staff recruitment process—who also claimed that the recruitment process undermined the principle of inclusion and federalism since the advertisement did not allocate seat quotas—gave a go-ahead to the PSC and the Ministry of General Administration. The deadline for submitting applications, which had expired on June 16, was extended to June 2.

The protesters, who have been staging demonstrations for months now, have also warned that they would disrupt the examinations, which is scheduled to start on Friday (tomorrow). About 400,000 aspirants are expected to attend the examination.

They obstructed the vehicular movements since late morning. Later the police interfered and dispersed the crowd.

But the PSC has asserted that they are fully prepared for conducting the examinations and will let the examinations take place despite the protests.

PSC officials have said that the representation of all clusters can be ensured only if the number of job vacancy positions at one level is above 28. According to them, one unit does not have sufficient vacant positions to ensure inclusive distribution.