In an order that could potentially provide relief to nearly 450 officers of the Indian Broadcasting (Programme) Service (IBPS) cadre, which forms the backbone of Prasar Bharati for its content, the Guwahati Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal has struck down the appointment of an officer on deputation from the Indian Telecommuni-cation Service (ITS) cadre and sought initiation of the process to promote IBPS officers to fill the vacancy.
The tribunal on May 6 decided that the appointment on deputation is “bad in law” as no such method is available in any provisions, it stated. Consequently, it also ordered that the government must convene the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) for promotion of the IBPS cadre officers for the vacant post “in accordance with law”.
The order raises questions about appointment through deputation in place of posts for IBPS cadre, and threatens 85 officers working in Prasar Bharati on deputation from other cadres. It also paves the way for promotion of 449 IBPS cadre officers who have got only one initial promotion, which was also delayed, in their service.
Striking down the appointment of ITS officer Thaiu Nag as Additional Director General (Programme) Prasar Bharati in Guwahati, the tribunal stated: “We fail to understand as to how one officer in BSNL is experienced in the department of Prasar Bharati, which is a statutory autonomous body set up by an act of Parliament and comprises the Doordarshan Television Network and All India Radio which were earlier media units of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.”
It stated that “from reading the aforementioned rules and regulations” for the posts of programme management, “it is nowhere seen that the mode of recruitment is through deputation failing which by promotion”.
The application to CAT against Nag’s appointment was moved by three IBPS officers in Guwahati, all eligible to become ADG (Programme), who told the tribunal that Prasar Bharati recruitment regulations for their promotions are “yet to be finalised” and that the Prasar Bharati Recruitment Board to oversee such promotions has “not yet been constituted”.