Govt takes serious note of slow paced enquiries, inconclusive RDA cases

Dedicated portal to be created for recording progress
*Ensure strict compliance of standing instructions: CS

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Mar 17: Several departments are not strictly following the standing instructions and guidelines issued by the Government for timely completion of enquiries and initiation of Regular Departmental Action (RDA) and this has been viewed seriously by Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, who has issued directions for monitoring progress on regular basis by the General Administration Department.
The guidelines for Regular Departmental Action were circulated by the General Administration Department vide Circulars No.28 dated September 27, 2013, No.48 dated December 12, 2018 and No.18 dated March 26, 2019.
As there was no strict compliance to these guidelines, the present dispensation reiterated the guidelines vide Circular No.6-JK(GAD) dated February 3, 2020 with the direction to all the departments to ensure implementation of the same in letter and spirit.
However, despite all this the compliance level is still not up to the satisfaction of the Government and this can be gauged from the fact that in a recent high-level meeting the Chief Secretary noticed slackness on the part of several departments, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
Taking serious note of slow paced enquiries, long-pending and inconclusive Regular Departmental Action cases in various departments, the Chief Secretary directed all the departments that the process to conduct the RDAs should be strictly in consonance with the standing instructions and guidelines, sources informed, adding the Chief Secretary has also directed the General Administration Department to explore the possibility of creating a dedicated portal for recording the progress of the RDA cases as early as possible.
All the departments have also been asked to ensure that guilty officers are not exonerated unnecessarily and innocent officers are not penalized for no fault of theirs, sources further informed, adding “Government is of the opinion that processing Regular Departmental Action cases in a timely manner is essential for good governance”.
They further said, “the Administrative Secretaries and Heads of the Departments are already under direction to take periodical review of the vigilance cases/departmental inquiries pending at various stages and issue necessary directions to the concerned officers to ensure their speedy completion”, adding “it has also been convened to Administrative Secretaries and Heads of the Departments that in case the Inquiry Officer fails to complete the inquiry in a time bound manner, the matter should be reported to the GAD for action against the officer concerned but this has rarely happened till date”.
As per the guidelines, the copy of which is available with EXCELSIOR, after the investigating agencies recommend Regular Departmental Action against delinquent public servants, the departments are required to initiate departmental proceedings in accordance with the procedure laid down in Rule 33 of the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1956 and conclude the same in a time bound manner.
The departments are supposed to monitor each departmental enquiry carefully to ensure its completion in a time bound manner preferably within a period of three months and not more than 6 months in any case and its outcome is required to be shared with the Vigilance Wing of the General Administration Department.
Moreover, criminal proceedings and departmental proceedings can be held simultaneously except in cases where the court has specifically restrained the Government from undertaking departmental proceedings.
In all such criminal cases where the criminal proceedings have been initiated and the alleged criminal act amounts to act of misconduct and as such attracts the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1956, the departments are required to take recourse and strictly adhere to the Rules, procedures and guidelines and institute a departmental enquiry in all such cases.
The cases of the retired employees in whose cases departmental proceedings have been recommended are required to be carefully examined in the light of the Regulation 168 of the J&K CSRs, 1956.