We are in possession of department-wise data that shows rising curve of complaints of corruption in the State. This is despite loud claims of the Government that efforts continue to reduce corruption by adopting certain preventive measures.
The question is essentially of accountability. This is the crux of the issue. Corruption in departments in the State is a long standing problem and each regime that comes to power raises hue and cry about corruption prevailing and assuring the people that it will take steps to eradicate it. But at the end of the day very little or usually nothing is done to eradicate the menace. Either it is practically difficult if not impossible to establish allegations of corruption for want of convincing evidence or that the investigating agency works in connivance with the accused. Both of these possibilities are there. Our laws are comprehensive and time consuming. Previously, allegations of corruption were brought against about 70 functionaries of the CPAD Department. Inquiry was set up and cases were framed. Some cases were even completed and submitted to the court for prosecution. But prosecution process is so lengthy and comprehensive and time consuming that many among the accused functionaries retired from service and took all pension benefits that normally accrued to them before the case of corruption was finally decided. There are some who even died and the cases were never proved or unproved against them. Therefore, the issue of accountability became a complicated question. We are not aware what alternative can be suggested that would ensure quick decision on cases of corruption. This is what the legal luminaries of the State and the country could study and recommend.
Corrupt practices in administration have been diversified. With each passing day, new ways and means of corruption are found by those who are able to make some fortune through corrupt means. There is hardly a week when we are not told that such and such a person has been questioned for having amassed property beyond his normal means. Great media hype is given to news like these. Ordinary citizen thinks that the Government is seriously dealing with cases of corruption. But then the din subsides in a few days and everything returns to normal as if nothing had happened. Within a few months, the entire case is hushed up and we hear no more about it.
We are not interested in doling out the numbers and figures about corruption or mentioning how many cases of corruption have been added during past one year or six months. We have reliable figures with us. It is a menace and depravity and has to be tackled effectively. It was argued that with the rise of economic standards, corruption will automatically end. But this opinion has been belied. In last six months complaints are recorded against 500 Government servants including 283 Gazetted Officers.
All these figures clearly suggest that the anti-corruption mechanism is required to be strengthened in Jammu and Kashmir so that menace doesn’t become intractable which would be a major blot on the face of the State.