The people had received Government’s decision of constituting State Vigilance Commission with much interest and appreciation. Fed up with corruption in the administration they thought this would be the way out. The Government was sincere in taking steps to uproot the menace from public life. But the decision lacked much needed follow up action so much so that people began to suspect the intentions of the Government. The problem lies in Government not making adequate technical and non-technical staff available to the Commission that would make it functional in letter and in spirit. Obviously the Commission could not function to full capacity in absence of requisite staff at its disposal.
Importantly, the Commission is expected to conduct enquiries into the complaints and situations conveyed to it by affected parties and do justice to the affected on open platform. The General Administrative Department was expected to file a status report vis-à-vis creation of staff for this important Commission. But this direction of the High Court was not adhered to. Naturally the Division Bench of the High Court took serious objection to a situation that is obstructing the flow of justice in public administration.
Taking serious note of the fact that requisite staff was not created for the State Vigilance Commission, the Division Bench has given only one week’s time to the Government to submit the status report failing which Secretary Finance Department will have to present himself before the court in person. We are surprised to know that while the Government was very eager in constituting the State Vigilance Commission in the name of providing good governance and bringing the defaulting administrative officers to the book, it left the question of providing the SVC with adequate staff to back-burner. The Additional Advocate General claimed that GAD had taken up the matter with the Finance Department for creation of posts in the SVC vide communication dated November 13, 2013 and the issue was under the consideration of the Finance Department. But despite issuance of three reminders latest by January 23, 2014 the response was still awaited. It is simple logic that the SVC cannot be expected to serve the purpose for which it was constituted as long as it is deficit of necessary staff. We appreciate that the Division Bench has issued orders for immediate action in providing the SVC with the teeth it needs.
Similarly, the Accountability Commission was required to be provided separate investigation wing but the repeated communications from the Commission to the Government have failed to yield much needed result. Now with the Division Bench of High Court seeking action taken on the recommendations of the Accountability Commission, we hope Government would do the needful to ensure that Accountability Commission is provided with investigation wing for timely probe into the complaints against the public functionaries.
Likewise, the General Administration Department was supposed to submit status report regarding the response received from various Administrative Secretaries on identification of dead wood meaning inefficient and incompetent officers in their respective departments. But, even this exercise has not been done.
The simple inference one can draw from this situation is that there is a strong move somewhere in the Government machinery to scuttle the Government’s decision of subjecting bureaucracy to public accountability. This has created an impression with the ordinary people that there are some vested interests in Government that wants to undo all that goes in the interest of the people. We cannot exonerate the Government of complacency in such a vital matter. It has to come down with a heavy hand and see to it that the decision taken by the Government is implemented even if it means sidelining the obstructionist elements. The writ of the Government must run.