Jaffna and Kilinochchi applicants lament non-recruitment of graduate trainees

Saturday, 8 September 2012 00:24 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By S.S. Selvanayagam

The Supreme Court yesterday granted leave to proceed with the fundamental rights violation petition filed by Jaffna and Kilinochchi districts’ graduates holding Higher National Diploma complaining that their applications for graduate trainees had been rejected while those of other districts have been accepted.

The Bench comprising Justices Chandra Ekanayake, S.I. Imam and Sathya Hettige granted leave for the alleged infringement of their fundamental rights to equality and equal protection of the law as well as the freedom to engage in any lawful occupation. The matter was fixed for hearing on 5 March.

228 Petitioners cited Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister W.D.J. Senevirathne, Ministry Secretary P.B. Abeykoon, Public Service Commission, Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera, Jaffna Government Agent and the Attorney General as Respondents.

M.A. Sumanthiran with Gehan Goonetilake and Sarita de Fonseka instructed by Mohan Balendra appeared for the Petitioners. Senior State Counsel Sahida Barrie appeared for the Attorney General.

The Petitioners state that the Public Administration Circular dated October 30, 1990 in respect of the Scheme of Recruitment specifically mentioned that the four-year Higher National Diploma in Accountancy and Commerce awarded by the Sri Lanka Technical College is comparable to a degree in commerce awarded by a recognised University.

They also state that Sri Lanka Institute of Advanced Technological Education too publicized the fact as per Circular of 30 October, 1990 that the Public Adminstration Ministry had accepted that these qualifications was equal to a degree in Commerce.

They further state that the University Grants Commission too by letter dated November 15, 2011 recognised it as an alternative qualification to a degree.

On February 2012, applications were called for graduate trainees and the Petitioners submitted their applications.

Contrary to the earlier Circular dated October 30 of 1990, the Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry Secretary letter dated June 25, 2012 informed all District Secretaries that the holders of diplomas would not be considered under the present scheme of recruitment, they state.

However the UGC by letter dated July 5, 2012 confirmed these qualifications are accepted as alternative qualifications to a general degree in Commerce and the Director General of the Sri Lanka Institute of Advanced Technological Education too by letter dated 9 July 2012 informed the Ministry Secretary confirmed that the said courses are accepted as an alternative qualification to a general degree.

Subsequent to the intervention of various parties, the Public Administration Ministry had decided to recruit those who held Higher National Diploma.

The Petitioners lament despite the decision to recruit Higher National Diploma holders for the post of Graduate Trainees, the applications of the Petitioners who reside in Jaffna and Kilinochchi district have been rejected.

They bring to the cognisance of the Court that however the applications of Higher National Diploma holders other than Jaffna and Kilinochchi districts have been accepted.

Petitioners are seeking the Court to declare that their fundamental rights have been violated and direct the Respondents to appoint them as graduate trainees.