It does not augur well with the concerned Administrative Secretaries and Departmental heads to virtually withhold the submission of reports on the performance of the Law Officers despite repeated directions from the Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs. Needless to add, the very basis of engaging an employee by the Government irrespective of rank, position or status is his or her performance in whatever assignment is given by the Government.
Management of performance is very central to the whole gamut of organizational objectives in relation to employees’ agreed measures, skills, competence, integrity, dedication to duty and response to organizational challenges. Data maintenance and monitoring the same, at least on annual basis, is very important. The levels of delivery results in respect of an employee must be measured without any exception and the performance report, therefore, assumes tremendous importance. Why have, therefore the deadlines fixed for submission of such reports been ignored and reports not submitted by the Departmental heads at all, is not known. Why have the practices of seeking unnecessary adjournments from the courts by such law officers gone unchecked despite concern shown by the State High Court?
Law officers are conducting cases of different departments and Public Sector Undertakings before both the wings of the State High Courts. Their performance vis-a- vis such cases, which are in sizeable number, need to be assessed and appraised for obvious reasons and an important letter in this regard written by the Law Minister on May 2 this year is said to be in continuation with the follow up on the subject matter. The instructions contained in this letter were to be complied with on or before May 15 by submitting such performance report so as to reach the office of the Secretary to Government, Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.
A reminder from the Minister was sent on 9th instant too wherein stress was laid on expediting of submission of such reports but till the evening of May 15, not a single Departmental Head or any Administrative Secretary complied with the directions and no information was submitted. Like this, we are afraid, there seems to be a “union of non heeders” of those who had to write the performance reports, point out areas of superb or excellent performance and pin point those areas where the reviewee needed to improve upon. In fact, a veiled message has been aired by these bureaucrats that even Minister’s directives needed not to be taken seriously which is shocking and unacceptable.
We would like to suggest that a standard format of at least 5 to 10 pages drafted by the personnel wing of the General Administration Department or by any other designated Department must be prepared so as to minimize time, procedures and the frugality of compliance by the appraising authority like Departmental Heads and Administrative Secretaries. This standard format must have, as an integral part, at least three pages of “self appraisal” to be filled in by the reviewee or the employee who could list his or her achievements and extra efforts put in to show better performance.
We suggest that not only because most of the Law officers are reported to be seeking adjournments of the cases which they are attending in the capacity of representing the Government and where the Honb’le Courts are expressing concern but otherwise also, performance reports must be made mandatory for the concerned authorities required to submit the same. Instead ‘Memo of Appearance’ even is not being filled in but seeking of adjournments has become a practice rather than exception and that looks untenable. The terms of appointments, in the instant case, must be linked to appearance in the cases assigned to the Law Officers and vigorous follow up by them in the Courts so that not the frequent adjournments but disposal of the cases must be their objective. This is more important in cases of Public Interest Litigations where Law Officers must save time in avoidable frequent submitting of compliance reports and must ensure the cases are decided at the earliest and they must cooperate with the Government in devising measures in reducing the number of pendency of the cases in the courts.