Pending Departmental Enquiries

People near and far are vociferous about administration of the State soft pedaling with corruption. The question is when the administration fails to implement the order of the High Court, not once or twice, but repeatedly over a period of time on a particular issue, what then is the next step? According to the Constitution, the Court can convey its displeasure to the Government on latter’s failure and the consequences that are likely to follow. However, that is a very extreme step which the Court will not be taking because the General Administration Department has submitted that the departments concerned are asked to submit the status report on 147 pending cases of alleged corruption.
The difficulty with the General Administration Department is that the concerned departmental heads are not cooperating and not sending in status reports on cases that pertain to their departments. Moreover, in some cases in which such status reports have been sent in, these are inadequate or in other words they are not coming out with full information. In this way, the departments concerned are trying to shield the indicted officials of whatever rank they are.  Therefore, it is a clear matter of inefficient administration and not a matter of the State Government defying the orders of the court. As far as the question of inefficient or biased Administrative Departments is concerned, the State Government has the powers to take disciplinary action against them. Why does not the top official not exercise their powers and take serious note of dereliction of duty on the part of departmental heads who have failed to honour the orders of the Court?
The top officers of the administration cannot absolve themselves of aspersions. The impression which an ordinary citizen carries is that the State Government is not interested in uprooting corruption. This belies the tall claims made by the ministers that we in the State have a comprehensive mechanism of fighting corruption and that we do not need agencies like Lok Pal or Lok Ayukt to handle cases of corruption. We agree that there is a comprehensive structure to control corruption. But the baffling question is that such a structure becomes ineffective if the rules are not implemented. Why should the administration fail to submit status reports on the inquiries into alleged cases of corruption in time but procrastinate it for years during which the indicted persons are transferred, promoted or superannuated and nothing happens? How can be the civil society convinced that there is rule of law and everybody is equal in the eyes of the law. By not honouring the verdict of the Court, the State Administration is treading a very dangerous and thorny path. Perhaps administrative heads are not aware of the consequences of their actions that aim at trivializing the authority of the judiciary.
It has also to be said that in a democratic system, people take even small things very seriously when the elections are round the corner. The lessons from recent parliamentary elections are self explanatory. Ultimate power rests with the people and people have many ways of vindicating themselves if they are done wrong by one or the other process.
In final analysis, this is perhaps the third or fourth editorial in which we have warned the administration that it is adopting a dangerous course in avoiding submitting elaborate and factual status report about 147 alleged cases of corruption against Government officials and officers to the State High Court. Let it be clear to all that no eroding of the authority of the judiciary will be tolerated by this nation. No antics adopted by the State Administrative Departments will help them shield their privileged officials who are involved in cases of corruption. The noose is tightening around their necks. The consequences of trying to become party to corruption will be disastrous. Let them understand.


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