Departmental inquiries must, as a natural corollary, be taken to their logical ends and there should be no attempt of doing any sort of theatrics about it. If the scourge of corruption and allied wrong doings and violations are to be contained, if not rooted out completely, there should be a befitting response to deal with them. The aim, on the other hand, should be not condoning even any peccadillo or moral misconduct of “considered” minor nature.
Having said so, it is a matter of concern that almost all the State departments have flagrantly been violating clear cut directions from the Government to assign departmental enquiries to Commission of Enquiries (CoE) and not adopting any soft mode with an idea to provide a safe exit to the one involved in illegal activities. Allocating and confiding the onerous task of inquiries to in – house probes was tantamount to a blatant crafty move to have the concerned personnel involved in acts of dishonesty, corruption, defalcation, embezzlements and misuse of official position with intent to reap unauthorized and illegal monetary and other individual benefits, go scot free.
There are startling instances where even in- house probes prove a wasteful exercise as the involved officials have been managing undue and unwarranted interference from political circles to an extent even where the in- charge officer was threatened not to “go far and any deep” in the allegations against the charged employee and in case of not succumbing to such “directives”, the consequences had to be faced by him. Not only that, records, files, vouchers, bills, notes, tenders and allied correspondence are either withheld partly or not provided to the inquiring officials even within the in- house probes. The entire exercise is reduced to a ruse, a formality just to prove the allegations were wrong and the involved official was an “example” in itself in honesty and probity.
How this entire melodrama of holding enquiries from within the departments is further allowed to hold ground is that the General Administration Department from where such directions sprout, has been playing a great deal of part in rendering the institution of Commission of Enquiries as a non – entity and hence optional in the sense that it is not in the “culture” of this prime department to provide full time Commissioner nor adequate professional man power. Like this, it indirectly provides a tout de suite safe exit to an involved employee who otherwise should have faced the consequences of indulging in any type of misconduct because any type of aberration in a normal honest and dignified office conduct constitutes a misconduct which deserves punishment.
To circumvent any sort of favourtism, undue leniency, unwarranted shutting of probing eyes towards evidences and proofs or even any biased approach, constituting Commission of Enquiries was mooted by the Government several decades ago. The entire supervision and monitoring was assigned to the General Administration Department and instructions from time to time were issued to all State departments to entrust all departmental enquiries to the Commission as per procedures and guidelines laid down in the Governmental order of 1988.
Times are changing and a growing zero tolerance is seen against acts of corruption and financial irregularities brewing up in the general public, even to the extent of whether an employee had filed correct and genuine bio- date, correct DoB, etc at the time of getting employment. The Government, therefore, should view seriously cases of flouting official instructions in respect of holding enquiries outside the purview of the set and defined guidelines so that a deviating employee did not go scot free.