MN&RE in a soup over appointments at National Institute of Solar Energy

Twesh Mishra New Delhi | Updated on February 24, 2020 Published on February 24, 2020

Court sets aside recruitment as scientist alleges tweaking of norms to favour a candidate

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MN&RE) is in a soup over appointments at the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE). The Punjab and Haryana High Court has set aside the recruitment process for the post of Deputy Director General (Solar Photovoltaic), or DDG (SP), at NISE.

The court was hearing an appeal filed by Sanjay Kumar, a DDG/Scientist ‘F’, seeking permanent absorption into NISE. He had been named to the post for two years in September 2016. A year after his deputation term began, he sought a permanent position at NISE, which is under the administrative control of the MN&RE.

He was initially granted a six-month extension beyond the two-year tenure. Subsequently, he was given a further six-month extension until the post was filled by another candidate. But his request for a permanent absorption was not accepted.

Tweak in conditions

In his plea, Kumar alleged that the appointment conditions for the post of Deputy Director General (Solar Thermal Technology), or DDG (STT), were modified to favour Sujit Pillai, a candidate linked to MN&RE Secretary Anand Kumar.

Pillai is the son of former Home Secretary GK Pillai and former Member Secretary of the Planning Commission, Sudha Pillai, both retired Kerala Cadre IAS officers. Sanjay Kumar alleged that Anand Kumar, also a Kerala cadre IAS officer, was a subordinate officer to Pillai at one point of time.

Sanjay Kumar asserted that the qualifications for the post of DDG (STT) at NISE were tweaked at the intervention of the MN&RE Secretary.

Hiring process scrapped

Taking a stern view of the appointment conditions being modified, the court scrapped the process of hiring DDG (STT). Further, it termed the tweaking of the qualifications ‘unsustainable’.

The court also directed the Minister in charge of the MN&RE, RK Singh, to assess Sanjay Kumar’s eligibility and claim for a permanent post at NISE.

MN&RE officers in the know said: “When this person (Sanjay Kumar) was recruited, the advertisement did not talk of absorption. If this provision had been there then many more aspirants would have applied. Such absorption at a later stage would be tantamount to a back-door entry. The ministry is considering an appeal to this order.”

“The modification of appointment criteria for the post of DDG (STT) was done keeping in mind technology developments, and the mere inclusion of a parameter does not ensure an appointment. The process of recruitment for that post, too, was not completed,” the officials said.

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Published on February 24, 2020
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