Srinagar, Jan 10: With the retirement of Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (JKPSC) member Zubair Ahmed Raza, seven out of eight seats in the JKPSC are now vacant.
Tariq Ahmad Khan, a former Director General of Planning, remains the sole active member and is also due to retire soon. The commission, operating without a chairman since November last year, has halted the recruitment process.
Since the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019 and the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories, JKPSC Chairman Satish Chandra took on the role of the reconstituted PSC’s first Chairman in June 2020. However, several members, including the Chairman, have retired since then, leaving only Tariq Khan as the single active member.
The members who retired from the reconstituted Commission include former judge Syed Iqbal Aga on January 15, 2022; Samir Bharti, a retired Indian Forest Service officer, on January 28, 2022; Subhash Gupta on March 28, 2022; Prof Showkat Ahmad Zargar on April 3, 2022; retired IAS officer and incharge Chairman Dr Farooq Ahmad Lone on June 1, 2022; engineer Desraj on December 15, 2022; retired IGP Syed Ahfadul Mujtaba on February 11, 2023; and Chairman Satish Chandra on November 19, 2023.
Officials said the vacancies have not only impacted the recruitment process for hundreds of gazetted posts but have also caused concerns among students. They said the absence of a chairman and members has delayed the forwarding of selected candidates’ lists to respective departments.
“The Chairman has the authority to make decisions related to conducting examination but the absence of the chairman is not putting an impact on the functioning of the commission but it is also causing concerns among students,” they said.
According to officials, the absence of the chairman and its members has put the recruitment process of around 800 gazetted posts on halt. “More than 200 assistant professors were selected in October and November 2023 in the Health and Medical Education and Higher Education Department, but the lists are yet to be forwarded due to the absence of the chairman and members,” they said, adding that the examinations for hundreds of posts scheduled for December 2023 and January 2024 have been postponed, and DPCs of various departments are pending.
Candidates expressed frustration saying the issue was brought to the notice of higher-ups several times but no positive steps have been taken as of now.
They have urged Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and Chief Secretary Atal Dullo to intervene and expedite the appointment of a new chairman and members to ensure the swift functioning of the commission.