More forced retirements

Charity begins at home. Thus goes the axiom. The General Administrative Department, which deals with manpower and services, is headed by the Chief Minister himself. So he has begun the exercise of cleaning the administration with speed and determination. A few days ago, a list of 13 Government officials/officers was announced who had been sent on forced retirement. Commentators were quick to find loopholes in the process. Their argument was that only officials of lower ranks were shunted out and officers of senior rank with political clout were not touched. This bordered on favouritism. But the reports are that a fresh list of 41 state employees is under the scanner and it includes officers of higher rank as well as from police department. Anti-corruption agencies, departmental heads and the Vigilance Organization have been told to speed up investigation into these cases so that GAD takes a final decision. These steps are welcome because after all the people have been demanding accountability for the acts of omission and commission on the part of state employees. It is said that the government is reaching the higher ranks of officers without discrimination and many among them are likely to be booked. However, according to sources, the hurdle in the way of the GAD and the Chief Minister is that in many cases the legal procedures need to be completed before letters of retirement are handed over. One hurdle is the service rule condition that a Government employee can be asked to go on forced retirement only if he or she has completed 23 years of service. Among the 41 cases now under scanner there are some who have not completed 23 years as yet. The Government wants to make sure that all rules and regulations applying to such cases as could be considered for premature retirement need to be fulfilled before any punitive action is taken. That is the humane face of the Government. Nobody wants any injustice done to an employee even if there is a case of corruption against him or her. This is called the rule of law and even handed justice.


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