Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dr.JP's Letter to PM to Get Section 14 (f) Deleted

4th August, 2011
Dr Manmohan Singh
The Prime Minister of India
New Delhi

Sub: Repeal of Section 14(f) of the Presidential Order (1975) – Reg.

The latest controversy over repeal of Sec. 14(f) in the ‘Presidential Order (1975)’ once again threatens to amplify the existing uncertainty over resolving the issue of regional aspirations in Andhra Pradesh. Unless resolved quickly, this will deepen the political crisis and worsen administrative paralysis in the State.

As you are well aware, the issue of preferential treatment to local candidates in matters of public employment is a key narrative of the regional aspirations in Andhra Pradesh. As per the Clause(1) of Article 371D, the President of India issued the Andhra Pradesh Public Employment [Organisation of Local Cadres and Regulation of Direct Recruitment] Order, 1975 (the ‘Presidential Order (1975)’) that created a detailed zonalization framework for giving preference to local candidates in matters of public employment in State and local governments.

This Order provided for exemptions to a limited number of, mostly State-level, government posts from this local/zonal framework. These limited exemptions are covered by Sec.14 of the Order. Specifically, Sec.14(f) exempts the posts of police officers recruited in the Hyderabad City region (as defined by Sec. 3(b) of the Hyderabad City Police Act, 1348F), from the Order’s overall zonalization scheme of giving preference to local candidates. It is important to point out that following the AP High Court’s orders, recruitments of all subordinate police personnel were undertaken from 2001 until 2008 by considering Hyderabad as a part of Zone VI itself and not as any “free zone”. The controversy surfaced in October 2009 because of the Supreme Court’s ruling in PV Radha Krishna and ors. versus State of AP and ors.

Since then, events have greatly overtaken facts of the matter and have directly resulted in the current crisis in the State. Prevalent perceptions and impressions in this regard have to be taken into consideration and appropriately addressed: specifically, that of Hyderabad being a “free zone”. Therefore, it is imperative to address and remove the grounds for wider dissatisfaction stemming from the exemption given under Sec.14(f) - despite it being limited to a restricted, specific class of public employment posts.

In order to address this issue, at the urging of Lok Satta Party, the AP State Legislative Assembly (APLA) had resolved on the 18th March 2010 to request the Government of India to obtain the approval of the President of India to delete the Sec. 14(f) of the Presidential Order (1975). Such a deletion would have the effect of nullifying the Supreme Court’s verdict of 2009. As a result, recruitment of all subordinate police personnel in Hyderabad would once again come under the zonalization scheme so that locals will have vacancies duly reserved for them. This would enhance the employment prospects of local youth and will address wider concerns.

The resolution of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly was not a knee-jerk response to a situation; nor was it approved unanimously by the House in a casual or cynical manner putting the ball in the Union government’s court. It was a well-thought out, carefully considered resolution keeping in view the complexity of the current situation in Andhra Pradesh. While there was no formal debate on the subject, the members of all parties were fully alive to the facts and circumstances of the case, and have decided to act above partisanship keeping in view the larger interests of the State. Unless we demonstrate the will to reconcile seemingly conflicting interests of various groups in a fair and transparent manner, the complex crisis in Andhra Pradesh cannot be resolved.

We therefore urge the Government of India to ensure that the Presidential Order (1975) is immediately amended as per the APLA’s resolution and is implemented fully and effectively. If needed, necessary operational safeguards in the interest of maintaining public order, protecting national assets in Greater Hyderabad city, and ensuring cohesion in the police force in the state could also be put in place.

The need of the hour in Andhra Pradesh is the dousing of flames of passion and restoring equanimity. And this can be achieved only by a decisive national leadership that not only stays above the fray but visibly does so, and thereby creates genuine confidence among all stakeholders about resolving the crisis collectively, effectively and permanently.

We therefore urge you to act accordingly and at the earliest.


Jayaprakash Narayan

President, Lok Satta Party

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