Chief minister Neiphiu Rio addressing the media at the committee hall of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly following the presentation of the state budget Credit: EastMojo image

Kohima: Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio on Friday said that it was time to review the appointment system in the state, and that a committee will be set up to analyse and recommend a fair recruitment system. Rio’s statement comes amid discussions on the allegations of backdoor appointment made in the home department and highlighted on the floor of the ongoing Nagaland Legislative Assembly session.

In a starred question raised by MLA Dr Imtiwapang Aier, seeking the number of police constables being appointed through open recruitment from March last year to January this year, deputy chief minister Y Patton replied that 206 constables were appointed through open recruitment in 2019. He also added that no police constables are currently undergoing training at NAPTC & PTS.

Patton also said that 15 sub-inspectors were appointed during 2019-2020 as per the laid-down procedures in which the DGP Nagaland is delegated with the power of recruiting sub-inspectors, adding that appointments were made as per the eligibility criteria laid down vide memo No. PHQ(A-1)127/2000 dated July 6, 2002.

When the opposition bench questioned as to why only 206 posts out of the 1,135 vacancies were advertised, Patton said that the recruitment of the remaining vacancies was designated to the DGP Nagaland, Superintendent of Police and Commanding officers, the process for which was already carried out. Patton also said that as per the P&AR notification, no advertisements are to be made for police recruitment, except for the new creation of IRB.

Patton also read out an unverified statistical data of backdoor appointments made by the home minister’s of the state since 2003 (which included himself)as per a viral social media post, sparking controversy in the state.

The opposition party strongly resented to the unverified information read by Patton asking him to substantiate the serious allegations made against the former home ministers. As the list included former minister Thenucho, MLA Imkong Imchen brought to the notice of the Speaker that as per the Constitution of the state Assembly, the name of a non sitting MLA cannot be brought to the house for discussion.

To this, the Speaker of the house expunged the statement read out by Patton as unverified data available through social media sources are not to be brought to the floor of the August house. The Speaker further said that the source of allegation must be investigated and that the due process will be taken to verify the source of information/matter.

Imchen sought the withdrawal of the allegations made on the floor of the house, saying that despite the statement being expunged, the allegations made by the concerned minister still stands. However, the statement was not withdrawn.

Taking the opportunity, Leader of Opposition, TR Zeliang suggested that an open recruitment similar to that of Assam Rifles and CRPF recruitment must be followed. He recommended that vacancies must be accumulated and recruitment be done district-wise in an open manner. Zeliang said that the power delegated to the DGP, SP, and commandants as per the cabinet decision made in 2002 must be withdrawn through a cabinet decision.

On the discussions on backdoor appointment, CM Neiphiu Rio finally responded saying that a committee will be set up to review the appointment system. He said that committee will analyse and recommend a fair recruitment process. He also said that vacancies will be accumulated together and be opened for recruitment as per requirement. With this assurance, the discussion was laid to rest in the question hour.

However, the issue continued to rise during the general discussion on the Budget. Citing the resentment by the public against backdoor appointment, MLA Kuzholuzo Nienu pointed that there could be a social unrest in the society cautioning the government to be alert of the alarming situation.

MLA K Khalo in his participation in the debate pointed that although 206 constables were appointed, only 205 names were furnished and that too without any mention of the candidate’s particulars. He also raised the issue of reservation for backward tribes highlighting that in the police recruitment, the advanced tribes have been generating more seats. He justified his statements with statistical data provided by the concerned department.

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