The annual promotion exercise of SEBI employees has been put on a hold for now, in the wake of objections raised by some senior employees. Interviews for the promotion of officials in various grades were to be held on November 21, but have now been postponed indefinitely.

This comes after businessline, on November 18, reported about the disquiet within SEBI due to sudden change in the policy for internal promotions. SEBI will now conduct interviews next year after bringing in amendments to SEBI employees service regulations in the next board meeting in December, the sources said.

‘To suit a few’

Several SEBI officials felt that SEBI was acting in an arbitrary and a pre-decided manner since it made sudden changes to rules on promotions just few weeks ahead of the interviews, to suit a few. Any major change to SEBI’s employee policy requires an approval of its board.

businessline had earlier reported that several SEBI officials were unhappy and had even planned to move the Bombay High Court had SEBI gone ahead with its promotion related interviews. Around 35 to 40 officials, who were hopeful of being considered for promotion, would have missed out due to the sudden change in the policy. 

Govt norms ignored

SEBI officials who spoke to businessline said the conflict was arising as SEBI did not follow government norms prescribed by Department of Personnel Training (DoPT), which is responsible for all recruitment and promotion related exercises among government agencies and statutory bodies. They said the problem is that promotion rules were changed without bringing in amendments to SEBI employees service regulations. 

Earlier, SEBI informed its staff that interviews for promotion of officials in certain grades would be conducted on November 21. The new changes made effective by SEBI on November 7 disqualified several officials. A letter dated November 17 from SEBI employees association says that although employees were invited for interviews based on past five years of performance, their annual appraisal ratings had not been disclosed.

Right to promotion

Employees who spoke to businessline cited Supreme Court rulings, which stated that employees may not have a right to promotions but consideration for promotions is their fundamental right. The rulings also clarify that promotion criterias cannot be changed on their whims and fancies just before carrying out the exercise. 

The current exercise of promotions at SEBI would have violated article 14, 19, 21 and 309 of the Constitution of India, and is also contrary to guidelines and directives of the Ministry of Finance, SEBI officials said.

Earlier, three years was the minimum experience requirement for officials in grade A, B, C, D, E and F to qualify for promotions. This was changed to 5 years on November 7. SEBI has allocated 50 marks for past performance and the rest 50 are left to be scored in the interview. The overall passing percentage required to be promoted was also changed suddenly.