Deptts asked to ensure disposal strictly within 3 months
*Guilty officers should not be exonerated unnecessarily: CS
JAMMU, June 19: As the guidelines for Regular Departmental Action are not being strictly adhered to by several departments of the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta has issued directions for ensuring disposal strictly within 3 months time-frame. Moreover, he has made it clear that guilty officers should not be exonerated unnecessarily.
The guidelines for Regular Departmental Enquiries 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.
However, there was no strict compliance to these guidelines as a result of which the very purpose of investigation by the Investigating Agencies got defeated. The present dispensation, while taking serious note of this, reiterated the guidelines for Regular Departmental Enquiries 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.
Despite all this, the situation has not improved up to the desired level as such the matter came up for discussion at the highest level in the administration few days back, official sources told EXCELSIOR, adding it came to the fore during the meeting chaired by the Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta that several departments are not strictly following the guidelines for Regular Departmental Action.
Accordingly, the Chief Secretary asked all the Administrative Secretaries to ensure adherence of the timeline of three months prescribed for disposal of Regular Departmental Action, which has been notified through different circular instructions issued by the General Administration Department till date.
“The Chief Secretary has further directed that the guilty officers should not be exonerated unnecessarily while ensuring that innocent officers are not penalized for no fault of theirs”, sources informed, adding “Dr Arun Kumar Mehta is of the opinion that processing Regular Departmental Action cases in a timely manner is essential for good governance. Moreover, it has been made clear that serious view will be taken on any delay even while processing such cases”.
Moreover, the Administrative Secretaries and Heads of the Departments have been directed to take periodical review of the vigilance cases/departmental inquiries pending at various stages and issue necessary directions to ensure their speedy completion, sources further said.
As per the guidelines, 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.
All the departments have also been conveyed that criminal proceedings and departmental proceedings can be held simultaneously except in cases where the court has specifically restrained the Government from undertaking departmental proceedings, sources said.
“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”, sources further said.
As per the guidelines, 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.