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Home Deptt clarifies on news item published in a section of media

Jammu, May 14 (Scoop News)-The Home Department has clarified on a news item published in a section of media regarding the deployment of staff from School Education Department to Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), wherein a distorted picture has been presented regarding deputation of officials in the FSL.
In this context the Home department has presented certain facts and said that the deputation has been done to overcome the shortage of manpower in FSL and is a transient measure. The department further maintains that Fresh Recruitment is going on but given the disruption caused by the pandemic, it may take time and adds that this temporary arrangement is not by engaging unqualified staff but those selected have the requisite qualifications and are otherwise eligible to apply for fresh recruitment notice also.
It further says, the Government is well within its rights to make temporary arrangements and these persons have not been taken randomly but have been selected through a careful process. In fact, they are better placed than freshly recruited candidates since they have hands-on experience of lab work in the schools. The FSL analysis depends on their theoretical knowledge and practical experience – they do not lack either. Out of the 10 selected persons, 1 is for the ASO post while the rest 9 are for Lab Technician post. In both these ranks, there are a very large number of vacancies – only 6 ASOs are in position against sanctioned strength of 37, while in respect of Lab Technicians against 22 posts, none is in position. In particular, Lab Technician is a 100% promotion post and there is unlikelihood of it being filled up soon due to non-availability of eligible candidates in FSL. The posts were advertised in November/December 2020 to invite applications - 27 candidates applied for the posts of Lab Technicians, out of which 9 have been selected while for Assistant Scientific Officer, 11 persons applied out of which one person has been selected, it says.
The department highlights that in the past year or so, Recruitment Rules for gazetted as well as non-gazetted levels have been substantially revised and notified. Thereupon, At Gazetted Level, nine (09) number of posts of Scientific Officers (SO) have been referred to the Public Service Commission for recruitment while as at non-gazetted level, 23 posts of Assistant Scientific Officers (ASO) are under process of reference to Service Selection Board (SSB) for fresh recruitment; in view of the small strength of the cadres of different specialties, the matter is being examined for clubbing of vacancies as per DoPT guidelines so as to ensure that the benefit of reservation is not denied to the reserved categories. Besides that, an opportunity of 32 posts has opened up for post graduates – i.e. Scientific Officers and Assistant Scientific Officers.Further, 19 posts of Lab Assistants and 21 posts of Lab attendants (Class – IV) have been referred to the Service Selection Board (SSB) which has advertised the same on 29.12.2020.
The department further maintains that Prior to 2019, in the technical cadre, FSL had 69 vacancies against a total strength of 138. After 1983, only 3 ASOs were appointed in the non-gazetted cadre in 2017 apart from a Gas Mechanic.
It adds that the Forensic Science Laboratory has been besotted with seniority disputes and court cases. Through concerted effort, since July 2018, these matters have been resolved and FSL has been reorganized in October 2019, whereby many important aspects have been addressed like sanctioned Technical Posts have been increased from 138 to 190, existing divisions have been re-organized on modern lines into 04 divisions i.e., Narcotics/Chemical, Biology/Serology, Physical and Technical, while introducing DNA and Cyber Forensics subjects. For specialization, Medical and Non-medical streams have been separated in the recruitment rules, Sanction of District Mobile Forensic Units (DMFU), one in each of the 20 Districts, for providing expert trained team on the crime scene in the shortest possible time and to prevent loss of evidence due to inept handling and Seniority disputes were resolved and promotions accorded which were pending for more than 20 years besides more than Rs. 30 Crores earmarked by MHA for equipment upgradation of FSLs.
In a most far reaching reform, FSL has been made independent from the Police Department, in pursuance of the directions of the MHA vide G.O. no. 189 – Home of 2020 dated 14.09.2020. It is relevant to mention that the High Court of J&K has been monitoring the FSL’s functioning in a PIL.
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