It’s not only capital market intermediaries who have an occasional bone or two to pick with the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Last fortnight, it was the turn of the employees of the capital market regulator itself to voice what they feel is unfair treatment against them when it comes to internal promotions. At least two SEBI General Managers (GMs) have filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, seeking explanation for the promotions done in June 2007, when M. Damodaran was Chairman. The Act, which aims to help public organisations become more transparent to the public at large, is helping these SEBI employees demand the same. At the time of writing, it did seem likely that more employees would take recourse to the RTI Act. Current Chairman C.B. Bhave didn’t comment on the issue.Acting on the two separate applications filed by the two GMs, Suresh Gupta and Piyoosh Gupta, the Central Information Commission (CIC, the central appellate authority for RTI-related matters) has directed SEBI to give out information about the marks assigned to each employee who was interviewed by the departmental promotion committee (DPC) in June 2007. The two orders dated April 11 and May 12 are posted on the CIC website.
The DPC, which comprises senior SEBI officials and is an external independent authority, interviews employees at various levels and assigns them grades on the basis of which annual promotions are done. An employee has to spend three years at one level before becoming eligible for a promotion. Both Suresh Gupta and Piyoosh Gupta have been GMs since 2001.
This isn’t the first time SEBI employees have protested against its human resource policies. A few years ago, an employee had knocked the doors of the High Court to complain about the promotion and incentive policy. Clearly, for the new SEBI chairman managing employee expectations will be a big challenge.