Dismissing employees without holding enquiry

Many a time, we have been referring not entirely in absolute academic sense, to the cardinal and basic premise of engaging an employee in Government service “to the pleasure of the employer” when we refer to instances of incompetence, sheer lethargy, delaying decision making process, corrupt and irregular practices, gross insubordination or causing loss to the public exchequer due to various omissions and commissions and indulging in activities prejudicial to the interests of the state or the UT whatever the case be, in respect of public servants. Even in private sector, industries etc the principle remains the same rather there, it is strictly enforced. In other words, a public servant drawing salary from a public treasury is bound to be loyally , faithfully but fearlessly discharging one’s duties in accordance with set rules, regulations, expectations from his employer about his or her output at the end of the day and carrying out the lawful instructions of one’s superiors – all in the interests of the department, the people and the state or the Union Territory etc. There are, however, instances where exit and escape routes are “managed” by such employees who are found involved in activities prejudicial to the public interest including indulging in corrupt practices, defalcations, scams and running nexuses with undesirable elements.
To overcome lacunas in the existing system of awarding punishments , the UT Government of Jammu and Kashmir, in a landmark development, has decided to invoke special provisions of the Constitution of India to have an accused employee dismissed from service, rank removed or reduced but all without holding any enquiry. Article 311 (a), (b) (c) confers such powers on the President or the Governor as the case may be, in respect of persons employed in civil capacities under the Union or a State or Union Territory. If in the interest of the security of the State (UT etc), it is found to the satisfaction of the President or the Governor, as the case may be, that it is not expedient to hold such enquiry before dismissal, reduction of rank or its removal of a public servant, the same shall be dispensed with. The decision of the UT Government deserves commendation which will now hasten the process of weeding out such public servants from the system coming under the ambit of the provisions of the constitution sought to be invoked. However, we feel there should be a detailed information about the specific grounds and violations which could make such public servants face such punishment though explicitly, it largely involves activities inimical to the public interest.
On the other hand, however, it is really a matter of satisfaction that a process has been decided to be set in to proceed with such invocation by properly scrutinising, analysing and recommending the specific concerned cases for such action for which a committee has been constituted by the Government. The committee will be headed by the UT Chief Secretary and other members on it shall be Administrative Secretaries of Home, General Administration, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Departments, Director General of Police and Additional Director General of Police (CID). Looking to the wider composition of the committee and the process devised, it would be a mechanism of the case to case study and scrutiny followed by initiating due response from Administrative Departments passed to Home Department and then placing before the committee. It has no scope of any arbitrariness in that the recommendations in respect of such cases are to be supported by relevant documents and records , interrogation report and other collateral evidence justifying dispensing with the requirement of holding an inquiry in the interests of the security. In other words, all the avenues available shall be fully exhausted for reasons of justifying such an action which denotes that no innocent would be harassed or get involved and had, therefore, nothing to worry about.
What about the status of the pending cases is quite relevant which reportedly are decided, now, to be proceeded further under the new provisions which means the concerned departments must set into motion the procedure of seeking advice from the Home Department in respect of deciding the quantum of period of suspension of those employees whose dismissal orders are quashed by the courts and having resumed duty after detention. In other words, Home Department shall be offering advice to all the departments. The era of more accountability, transparency and responsibility enjoin upon public servants of all hues to discharge their duties honestly and dedicatedly as is normally expected of them, be competent enough to hold next higher positions in the usual process of career building and the proposed measures under the constitution are a strong reminder to those who intend to break the “forbidden line”.