Government of India
Ministry of Home Affairs
( Department of Personnel and A.R.)
New Delhi, dated the 11th November, 1981
Scheme for JCM – Department Councils – Procedure regarding functioning of and recording of agreements
The undersigned is directed to refer to this Department’s O.M.No.4/2/79-JCA dated the 20th July, 1980, in which consolidated and comprehensive instructions were issued about the procedures to be followed regarding functioning of, and recording of agreements / disagreements in the Departmental Councils.
In spite of these instructions, several cases have of late come to the notice of this Department where the procedures laid down therein have been found to have not been followed. It is, therefore, again emphasized that the following instructions should be borne in mind for strict observance and compliance.
Items suggested by the Staff Side of the Departmental Councils are sometimes not scrutinized properly in advance, and after discussion of the item in the Departmental Council the Staff Side is told to take it up in the National Council as the item merited to be discussed only there.
Subsequently, if the Staff side do not accept this contention of the Official Side, this Department is requested to advise about the course of action to be taken.
Such a situation is embarrassing to this Department apart from giving the staff side a justifiable cause for complaint about improper functioning of the JCM at the Departmental level.
It is, therefore, imperative that the demands of the staff side made in the Departmental Council should be scrutinized in advance, and the Ministries / Departments concerned should take a view in the first instance if considered necessary in consultation with Department of Personnel & A.R., as to whether they fall within the jurisdiction of the Departmental Council or in the National Council.
In the latter case, the Staff side should be advised suitably. After admission of an item, it would not be proper for the Official side to disown the item or for the Chairman to disallow discussion on the ground of conflict or jurisdiction.
If the staff side of the Departmental Council do not accept the official side view about the arbitrability of an item under the Scheme for JCM, the matter should be referred to Department of Personnel and A.R. by name to the Joint Secretary or Deputy Secretary in-charge of JCA Section.
Till such advice is available, no final disagreement on the disputed item should be recorded, and, the staff side in the Council / Committee asked to await the advice of the Department of Personnel and A.R. as the final authority for deciding on the arbitrability of the issues under the JCM Scheme. There, indeed, would be positive advantage in consulting the Department of Personnel in cases of anticipated disagreement.
It has been observed in many cases that on the staff side contesting the view of the official side about the arbitrability of a particular item under clasue 16 of the JCM Scheme, the Ministries / Departments concerned consult the Ministry of Law directly and this Department is kept in the dark. Law Ministry have opined that the Department of Personnel and A.R. alone is competent under the Government of India ( Allocation of Business ) Rules to decide on all matters relating to the Scheme for JCM including the arbitrability of the item for Joint Councils.
It is only proper that such consultation with the Ministry of Law, if necessary, should be done by this Department, who, thereafter, on the basis of uniform policy followed, practice adopted, and precedent cases, will advise the Ministries / Departments suitably.
The practice of various Departments seeking direct advice from their accredited legal advice branches giving rise to expression of different legal opinion on the arbitrability of similar or same items in different Councils is not only irregular but also creates an embarrassing situation for this Department. It may be ensured that such situations do not arise in future.
It has also been observed that at the meetings of the Joint Council and its Committees, the official side, in order to project a favorable image before the staff side, has sometimes the tendency to say that though it is favorably inclined to the demand, other Departments of the Government are responsible for its non-acceptance.
Such indication of individual stand on the staff side demand would not only be embarrassing but also premature and creates, in the long run, difficulties for the Government. In no case should it be indicated the stage at which, and the Department where, the proposal is under consideration.
As emphasized earlier, vide our O.M. dated the 20th July, 1980, when the official side takes a view on the staff side demand, after consultation with the Ministry of Finance etc., if necessary, in advance, it is done on behalf of the Government as a whole and it is not proper to take the stand at the meeting with the staff side that the Ministry of Finance, etc. do not agree to the proposal. This causes unnecessary and avoidable embarrassment and should not arise in future.
2. The Ministry of Finance etc., are requested to follow the procedures mentioned above strictly.
BATA K. DEY
DEPTUY SECRETARY TO THE GOVT. OF INDIA