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Explicit infusion of good governance to independent commissions a must


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By Mohamed Rafeek

Now the entire nation is looking for good governance (GG) practices in the affairs of the public administration. The principal organ of GG is the Rule of Law. If the Rule of Law prevails in a country, there is no need for its citizens to go behind politicians for favours.

The independent commissions envisaged in the Constitution play a pivotal role in ensuring GG for the masses. When it comes to public service, the general hope of the educated youth is to obtain employment opportunities without being subject to discrimination on grounds of race, religion or party politics.

President Ranasinghe Premadasa who realised the gravity of it introduced a Public Administration Circular No 15/90 which spells out guidelines to recruit and promote people in public sector employment based on the ethnic ratio.

But later several aspirants for promotion challenged this circular by way of FR and the judicial decree was this particular circular could not be applied for promotions. As per the judicial interpretation, the court had explicitly expressed its ruling on the application of this circular for promotional purposes. But the court is silent on applicability of the recruitment process based on the ethnic ratio.

Last week the Public Service Commission (PSC) released the results of candidates who sat for the SLAS exam where 172 candidates have been declared selected to be appointed from 215 eligible persons called for interview.

According to the Public Administration Circular No 15/90 which is still in operation the recruitment to the public sector should be done based on the ethnic ratio. Accordingly, around 30 Tamils and Muslim candidates should have been recruited to this prestigious and sinecure position based on the ethnic ratio of Tamils and Muslims. But I am made to understand only eight Tamils and five Muslims have been recruited despite the fact that there were enough members of the minority communities who were called for interview after having passed this highly-competitive exam. Or else the Ministry of Public Administration should announce the cancellation of such circulars.

The present Government which promotes good governance in the administration should spell out explicitly the process and procedures to especially the commissions such as the PSC and the Salaries Commission that involve public sector employment. Otherwise there are instances where those in the saddle of those organs act according to their whims and fancy disregarding the general rule thinking that they were no longer valid. 

Justice should not only be done but it should be seen to be done.


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