The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has rejected the panel of names proposed by the Smriti Irani-led Human Resource Development Ministry for the post of CBSE chairman.
This comes after the Cabinet Secretary raised objections to the names, mainly over the “experience criteria” adopted for selecting them.
The ACC decided to “scrap the panel recommended by the search-cum-selection committee in its meeting held on April 13”. It directed the ministry to complete the selection process within two months and submit its proposal to the ACC for consideration before October 31. A letter by the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) in this regard was issued on August 31.
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The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has been without a regular full-time chairman since December 2014.
The ACC has entrusted Y S K Seshu Kumar — a Joint Secretary in the ministry — with the additional charge of CBSE chairman, taking away the responsibility from Satbir Bedi, who was Irani’s top choice for the job in the HRD proposal sent on June 24.
The HRD Ministry proposal had run into rough weather with Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha raising several objections and saying that it was not clear if the ministry had adhered to recruitment rules while evaluating experience criteria of candidates.
Sinha said the criteria advertised in the vacancy circular did not insist on the minimum three-year experience in educational administration, required as per recruitment rules. Instead, Sinha said, it gave the impression that officers of the rank of Joint Secretary — the post analogous to CBSE Chairman — were not required to meet the experience criteria.
The advertisement, he wrote, had “changed the applicability of experience criteria as it gives the understanding that experience criteria is not required for applicants holding analogous posts”. Bedi is a Joint Secretary in the HRD Ministry.
Sinha also pointed out that the information provided by the ministry in the proposal indicated that annual confidential reports (ACRs) “have not been taken into consideration while assessing the candidates”. The vacancy circular had sought ACR dossiers of the last five years from each applicant.
He also raised the issue of a complaint sent by an advocate to the HRD ministry last May regarding the appointment process. The advocate had claimed that recruitment rules were not followed in the vacancy circular. “The response of the Department (of School Education & Literacy), however, is still awaited,” Sinha stated.