Saturday, March 22, 2014

Technicality throws spanner in SKM secretary general’s chances of contesting elections

GANGTOK, 20 Mar: Among the first backers of the SKM and for long considered a top candidate for Rangrang-Yangang constituency from where he hails, MK Subba, may not be able to contest the coming elections on grounds that he is still, technically, a government employee. This situation is clearly rankling the party as well, and addressing a press briefing today, the party lashed out against the SDF Government for having conspired to keep Mr. Subba from contesting the elections.
The Sikkim Krantikari Morcha has more concerns to handle than just the fallout of the expected and underlying dissent at the declaration of party tickets for the Assembly polls. The additional headache for the party in announcing its list of candidates comes in the form of the ambiguous status of Mr. Subba, one of its top leaders and expected candidates.
Mr. Subba may have resigned from government service but his resignation has not been accepted. In fact, along with him there are two other former government servants now in the party, namely Milan Silwal and Karma Loday, who terminated their partnership with the government only to have the latter refuse to accept the resignations of any one of them. Meanwhile some government servants who tendered their resignations before them have since been relieved and some even feature in the list of candidates already announced by the party.
The State Government has reportedly refused to accept their resignation letters on the grounds that there are Vigilance cases pending against all three of them.
While Mr. Subba and Mr. Silwal tendered their resignations from government service after the state government had initiated Vigilance inquiries against them, the Vigilance case against Mr. Karma Loday was initiated around a week before his 3-month notice to the government ended.
While the SKM has been able to work out the candidatures of both Mr. Silwal and Mr. Loday, that of Mr. Subba remains. The situation persists and although it is unlikely to be resolved, the party may be holding on to some hope since it is yet to announce a candidate for Rangang-Yangang.
The Sikkim Government Establishment Rules states that a permanent government employee, while he can resign anytime with due notice, is only relieved of government service when his resignation has been accepted by the government. Officials at the Department of Personnel interpreted the rules to say that an employee is free when the government accepts the resignation. The rules say that a resignation when put forward to the concerned department head is considered by the government and accepted, normally, within a period of 3 months. If not the government communicates its decision in writing with explanation.
As mentioned, the state government refused to relieve the three on the grounds that they had Vigilance cases registered against them.

Officials at the Election Department confirmed that a government employee while in service cannot contest elections. The same is also mentioned in the Representation of People’s Act. Either Mr. Subba will have to work out something soon or his ticket is likely to go to some other contender. All three had petitioned the High Court of Sikkim seeking that directions be passed quashing the Vigilance FIRs against them and for the State Government to accept their resignations and relieve them from service. The case was taken up by the High Court on 13 March and had been posted for a hearing on 10 April. They have since withdrawn their petition from the Court it is informed. 

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