Speaker`s wife in OBC imbroglio

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IMPHAL, October 10: The issue regarding the appointment of Thokchom Nivedita Devi wife of the present Manipur Legislative Assembly Speaker Th Lokeshor has been shrouded in controversy. Th Nivedita Devi is presently serving as an Under Secretary at the Manipur Legislative Assembly Secretariat.

An RTI applicant had sought information from the Assembly Secretariat regarding the number of vacant posts in the Assembly Secretariat in between 2007 and 2012 and about how many posts has been created during the time.

The applicant has also sought information regarding the appointment of Th Nivedita Devi to the post of Under Secretary in the state Assembly Secretariat.

In answer to the RTI application, Director and Public Information Officer, Manipur Legislative Assembly Secretariat, Akoijam Tiken has mentioned that 96 posts were vacant during the said period out of which ten posts were newly created.

The PIO’s reply also informed that excepting the creation of new post, no approval of the state Finance department is required for making appointments and that no member of the state finance department is is required in the recruitment/interview Board of the Manipur Legislative Assembly Secretariat for making appointments. All appointments are supposedly made under Rule (I) and 9 (2) of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, the reply said.

Meanwhile according to documents pertaining to Th Nivedita, which were enclosed as part of the reply Kumari Nivedita daughter of Th (O) Lakhisana of Sagolmang is not serving in any state/central government service. Her income certificate also states that she is by occupation a weaver and her income is less than Rs 60000 (however the year for which the certificate was issued is missing).

Her OBC certificate was signed by Additional District Magistrate of Imphal East namely Paolun Tuboi certifying that Kumari Thokchom Nivedita Devi and her family ordinary resides in Imphal East District/Sawombung Sub Division of Manipur and that she doesn’t belong to the persons/section Creamy layer. The OBC certificate is also dated April 1, 2011.

Meanwhile, in her application for a Certificate for Eligibility for reservation of post for Other Backward Classes, she has mentioned that she is a housewife, but failed to fill in her husband’s name and status of parent(s)/husbands. The signed document also certifies that if the information pertaining to her is found incorrect or false before or after the selection, her candidature appointment is liable to be cancelled.

It may be mentioned here that Th Nivedita is the daughter of former MLA of Khundrakpam a/c, Th Nabakumar and had married the present state Assembly Speaker Th Lokeshor on November 5, 2008 who was the elected MLA of the constituency at the time.

The state of affairs also begs the question on how a woman who was married in 2008 to an MLA get an OBC certificate with the title ‘Kumari’ in 2011.

It may be mentioned here that the term “Creamy layer” was introduced in the context of reservation of jobs of certain groups in 1992. According to the definition of the “Creamy Layer” as set by the Supreme Court of India the benefit of reservation should not be given to OBC children of constitutional functionaries such as the President, Judges, employees of central and state bureaucracies above a certain level, etc.

The creamy layer refers to the relatively wealthier and better educated members of the OBCs, who are not eligible for government sponsored educational and professional benefit programmes. Hence the creamy layer concept is meant only for the OBCs.

It may be mentioned that Th Nivedita had been certified to be from the OBC and not belonging to the creamy layer by the concern authority in 2011, even though she happens to be the daughter of a former MLA and married with the present Speaker in 2008.

Meanwhile, according to the official memorandum of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions on September 8, 1993, the government had appointed an expert committee to recommend the criteria for exclusion of the socially advanced persons from the benefit of reservation for OBC in civil posts and services.

Consequently, the committee notified to be respective state governments mention that OBC category should not be tendered to sons and daughters of persons holding constitutional positions.

Further, in the service category of All India Central and State Services a lady belonging to the OBC category who is married to a Class I officer is exempt from applying for a post under the OBC category.

The question on how Th Nivedita, daughter of a former MLA and better half of the present Speaker got appointed as Under Secretary in the Manipuir Legislative Assembly Secretariat is still controversial according to the stated facts.

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