GUWAHATI: The bench of Justice Devashis Baruah of the Gauhati High Court has disposed of a writ petition (WP-C/4239/2018) with the observations that 'there shall be no direct recruitment to the post of Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) unless and until the Assam Forest (Class-I) Service Rules 2022 is notified as per law or any executive instructions are issued, thereby prescribing the percentage for direct recruitment and promotion to the post of ACF'. The Assam Forest (Class-I) Service Rules 2022 is currently at the stage of approval with the Assam Public Service Commission.
The bench said this after hearing the writ petition filed by the Assam Forest Rangers' Association and 14 others.
The standing counsel of the Forest Department said the State's Environment and Forest Department finalized the Draft Service Rules — The Assam Forest (Class-I) Service Rules, 2022 — for regulating the recruitment and conditions of service of the cadre of Forest Rangers, Assistant Conservator of Forest, Deputy Conservator of Forest. He has mentioned that the Personnel (B) Department, Assam, had approved the draft service rules, and presently the service rules are with the Assam Public Service Commission for their approval. Subsequent thereto, the Service Rules have to be vetted by the Finance Department and the Legislative Department before placing before the Cabinet. He has also mentioned that the process would take two to three months. The Government may also prescribe the percentage of direct recruitment and promotion to the post of Assistant Conservator of Forest till finalization of the Service Rules, he said.
The bench observed that the communication above referred to categorically makes it clear that "the Government of Assam, Environment and Forest Department may wait till finalization of the Integrated Service Rules – The Assam Forest (Class-I) Service Rules, 2022 – or may prescribe a percentage for direct recruitment and promotion to the post of Assistant Conservator of Forest in the exercise of the powers conferred under Article 162 of the Constitution of India till the finalization of the new Service Rules."