Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

Classic Group of Hotels
The gateway to The Regional Institute of Medical Studies, RIMS, at Lamphel Pat, Imphal

Controversy Over the Recruitment Reservation Norms in RIMS May Add Another Communal Dimension to Communally Charged Environment of Manipur

While Manipur Government and authority of the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) have conceded to the demand of the All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM) to cancel the results of recruitment of Lower Division Clerks (LDCs) and provide fresh results with reservation norms as demanded by ATSUM, the Kangleipak Kanba Lup (KKL) demands to nullify the agreement reached between the State Government, RIMS and the ATSUM.

Following a threat from ATSUM starting with a call for a 12-hour statewide total shutdown from 6 am to 6 pm on April 4, 2023 to be enforced in all the hill districts of Manipur, the State Government and the RIMS authority conceded to the demands of ATSUM.

As soon as the RIMS authority declared the results of recruitment of LDCs on March 3, 2023, the ATSUM on March 4 alleged that the recent recruitment of LDCs in RIMS violated the reservation norm recommended by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Government of India in 2005.

Speaking to media persons at Adimjati Complex, Chingmeirong on March 4, the ATSUM General Secretary SR Andria said that the ATSUM strongly condemns the recruitment results declared on March 3 as it flouted the reservation quantum prescribed by the DoPT, Government of India for SC, ST and OBC in recruitment of Group C and Group D posts should be 3 per cent, 34 per cent and 13 per cent respectively while the remaining 50 per cent is unreserved.

Therefore, the ATSUM demanded nullification of the recruitment result with immediate effect.

In another statement, the ATSUM on March 30 said that the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Government of India, while having convinced that the direct recruitment to Group C and Group D posts normally attracts candidates from locality or a region, fixed the reservation quantum of reserved categories on the basis of their population in the respective States/UTs. “As such, the reservation quantum of SC, ST and OBC for the case of Manipur State in regard to direct recruitment of Group C and Group D posts of Central institutions was fixed as 3% for SC, 34 % for ST and 13% for OBC respectively vide DoPT OM No. 36017/2/2004 -Estt.(Res) dated 05/07/2005”, the ATSUM pointed out.

“However, defying the DoPT Ofice Memorandum, advertisements for recruitment of 134 posts of MTS and 9 posts of LDC were notified vide Notification No.B/3025/2015-RIMS dated 16th Jan 20216 and Notification No. B/3222/2018 dated 1st June 2019 respectively,” the statement said.

The ATSUM said that it lodged complaints with the RIMS authority, the concerned Ministry and the NCST for streamlining of the reservation norms in line with DoPT OM. In this regard, discussions between the ATSUM and the RIMS authority were positively held on several occasions, it added.

Further, a joint meeting of the Parliamentary Committee, the NCST and the RIMS authority for necessary rectification of the reservation quantum was also held, the ATSUM also stated.

“Subsequently, the RIMS authority vide its notification dated 5th March, 2021 revised the reservation roster in respect of 134 posts of MTS which was advertised on January 16, 2016 as 67 posts for UR, 4 posts for SC, 46 posts for ST and 17 posts for OBC respectively,” it added.

The ATSUM then said that after a clarification in the matter of reservation in appointment of Group C and erstwhile Group D posts in Central Government Institutions functioning in Manipur state was sought vide letter No. B/3222/2018 – RIMS(Pt – I) dated 16 – 11 -2021, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Government of India, instruction for adherence of reservation quantum of 3% for SCs, 34% for STs and 13% for OBCs in case of direct recruitment to Group C and Group D was conveyed to the RIMS Director vide letter No. U -12025/19/2019 – NE dated 11th May 2022.

“Accordingly, in compliance with the Ministry letter, the RIMS administration with the approval of the concerned authority issued an order of reservation quantum to be followed in RIMS as 3% for SC, 34 % for ST, 13% for OBC and 50% for UR in case of direct recruitment to Group C and Group D posts vide Order No. M/1/2019 – RIMS (49) dated 21st May 2022,” the ATSUM also added.

However, the incumbent RIMS administration in gross violation of the known reservation norms, declared the results for appointment of 9 LDC posts at RIMS vide No. B/3222/2018 – RIMS dated 03/03/2023. Despite the cordial plea of ATSUM for rectification of the reservation discrepancies, RIMS administration remained adamant in justifying its deliberate wrongdoing at the persuasion of a few administrative officers, it alleged.

It also stated that they also learnt that the RIMS administration is further trying to aggravate the pain of the tribals by processing DPCs for other posts before the reservation quota of SC, ST and OBC is streamlined.

Therefore, while considering the blatant act of the Incumbent RIMS administration as “a challenge to the authority of Indian Constitution” and “a desperate attempt to deprive the Manipur tribal communities of their legitimate rights”, the ATSUM as endorsed by its 3rd General Assembly held on March 27, will resort to various form of democratic agitation from April 3 with various charter of demands, the statement stressed.

Ultimately, the ATSUM annouced a 12-hour statewide total shutdown from 6 am to 6 pm on April 4, 2023, would be enforced in all the hill districts of Manipur.

Consequently, the RIMS authority has agreed to cancel the results for the appointment to the posts of LDCs and provide fresh results with reservation as demanded by ATSUM. The decision was made after a meeting held on April 3, which was attended by RIMS Authority, Manipur Tribal Aareas & Hills Minister Letpao Haokip, Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Sapam Ranjan and Hill Areas Committee (HAC) Chairman Dipu Gangmei besides RIMS Director Dr. H Priyoshakhi and RIMS Medical Superintendent, Dr. Nepram Sanjeeb

According to the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) reached during the meeting, RIMS Authority will declare fresh results within one week with reservation for Scheduled Castes (3%), Other Backward Classes (13%), and Scheduled Tribes (34%) based on Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) already conducted. The RIMS Authority also agreed to follow existing rules and Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) guidelines in matters of recruitment to Group C and D posts in the future.

In response, the ATSUM agreed to keep in abeyance the total shutdown they called for in protest against the RIMS Authority’s failure to rectify the reservation discrepancies and nullify the LDC results in gross violation of the quantum of reservation for the Scheduled Tribes.

Meanwhile, Kangleipak Kanba Lup (KKL) submitted a memorandum on April 5 to the Chief Minister, RIMS and Additional Chief Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) demanding to nullify the agreement signed by RIMS, State Government and All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM) dated April 3, 2023.

The KKL in a press release termed the agreement signed in connection with the reservation policies in the recruitment process of RIMS as ‘illegal’ and denounced the demand raised by ATSUM challenging the recruitment process of RIMS.

‘The agreement signed on the backdrop of ATSUM calling a Statewide total shutdown on April 4 demanding the rectification of reservation policies and cancellation of appointment of LDCs at RIMS is unacceptable’, KKL said.

The KKL also raised question on the authority of ATSUM for signing the agreement and the Government approval on the same.

Therefore, KKL urged the authorities concerned to revoke the agreement and follow the reservation process of direct recruitment as laid down by the Centre.

Further KKL cautioned that it will take up the matter to the High Court if RIMS authority fails to comply with the demands of KKL to follow the recruitment process as per the reservation policies stated in the previous recruitment notice of RIMS.

KKL also said that it will take up intense form of agitation along with the support of the masses if their demands are not fulfilled.

According to the memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister of Manipur, the KKL said the application/ implementation of DoPT Office memorandum issued on July 5, 2005 in the recruitment of Lower Division Clerk the result of which was declared on March 3, 2023 does not arise at all as it goes against the notification of vacancies to employment exchange issued on June 1, 2019 and over and above the notification precedes order dated 21/05/2022. As such, retrospective application of the same is ultra vires.  It urged to hold on the implementation and operation of illegal memorandum of agreement.

Moreover, the Non-Teaching Contractual Staff Association of RIMS demonstrated in front of RIMS OPD Block on April 2 condemning the postponement of the written examination for appointment of the post of Multi-Tasking Staff (MTS) for RIMS.

As per an order issued by the deputy director (administration) RIMS on April 1, the written examination for selection of 134 MTS staff for which DPC was conducted in 2016 is postponed due to ‘administrative inconvenience.’

Failure to conduct the said examination on or before April 5 will compel all the 404 contractual staff of RIMS to launch cease work and close door protest from the next day, said general secretary of Non-Teaching Contractual Staff Association of RIMS S Sanatomba while speaking to the media.

Now, the Government needs to give urgent attention to the conflicting views of different civil bodies about the reservation norms followed in the State. If the Government does not address the problem in time, the controversy over the reservation norms for the recruitment of some posts of RIMS may add another communal dimension in the already communally charged environment of Manipur.

Also Read