Perturbed over delaying tactics, Govt issues guidelines for time-bound action

Admn Secys, HoDs asked to conduct review regularly
Departmental enquiries against delinquent public servants

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Feb 4: Taking serious note of dilly-dallying approach of majority of the departments in handling regular departmental enquiries, the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has come up with the detailed guidelines for the time-bound action. Moreover, all the Administrative Secretaries and Heads of the Departments have been directed to periodically review vigilance cases and departmental enquiries and issue necessary instructions to ensure their speedy completion.
The latest directions of the Government have substantiated numerous exclusive news-items published by EXCELSIOR highlighting non-serious approach in handling the regular departmental enquiries even after explicit instructions from the Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam while chairing weekly Committee of Secretaries meetings.
It was also revealed through these news-items that recommendations of the investigating agencies particularly the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) are not being taken seriously just to avoid conclusion of departmental enquiries in accordance with the rules.
“The guidelines for regular departmental enquiries were earlier conveyed vide Circular No.28-GAD of 2013 dated September 27, 2013, No.49-GAD of 2018 dated December 12, 2018 and No.18-GAD of 2019 dated March 26, 2019. However, it has been noticed that the guidelines and procedures to be adopted in regular departmental enquiries are still not being followed by the departments in letter and spirit, which defeats the very purpose of investigation by the investigating agencies”, read Circular No.06-JK(GAD) dated February 3, 2020 issued by Dr Farooq Ahmed Lone, Secretary to the Government, General Administration Department on the instructions of the Chief Secretary.
In some cases, it has been observed that after receiving of recommendations from the investigating agencies, the departments instead of serving charge-sheet to the delinquent public servants choose to appoint “enquiry officer” or constitute “enquiry committee” at their level to decide the matter, which is unnecessary, uncalled for and often seen as a delaying tactic to avoid conclusion of departmental enquiries in accordance with the rules, the Government said, adding “in many other cases, it has been observed that even after the conclusion of departmental proceedings, orders are not issued”.
“These acts are not only contrary to the provisions contained in the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1956 and circular instructions issued from time to time but also seen as delaying tactic for conclusion of enquiry cases”, the Government further said while issuing guidelines for regular departmental enquiries for implementation by all the departments.
The Government has directed the departments to initiate departmental proceedings soon on the receipt of recommendations from the Anti-Corruption Bureau or Crime Branch in accordance with the procedures laid down in Rule 33 of the J&K Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1956 and conclude the same in time bound manner as the recommendations invariably contain the draft Article of Charge and Statement of Imputations with gist of evidences.
“If need arises, clarifications/more inputs should be obtained from the investigating agency and GAD Vigilance wing. However, if there are any facts which require taking a different view, the case should be referred back to the investigating agency along with the facts within four weeks of the receipt of the recommendations”, the Government further said.
As per the procedure, on initiation of departmental proceedings, Articles of Charge is required to be framed and served upon the delinquent officer and on arriving at a conclusion that enquiry is actually required, an Inquiry Officer is required to be appointed with the approval of the competent authority.
“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”, the Government said, adding “on detailed analysis of the report of the Inquiry Officer follow-up action should be taken expeditiously by the concerned department and action taken be conveyed to the investigating agency as well as Vigilance Wing of the General Administration Department”.
Laying thrust on following procedure prescribed under Rule 34 of the J&K Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1956, the Government has asked the departments 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 six months in any case.
“The cases of the retired employees wherein departmental proceedings have been recommended should be carefully examined in the light of the Regulation 168 of the J&K CSRs, 1956”, the Government further said.
It has been clarified that criminal proceedings and departmental proceedings should be held simultaneously except in cases where the court has specifically restrained the Government from undertaking departmental proceedings.
With these guidelines, the Government has directed all the Administrative Secretaries and Heads of the Departments to take periodical review of the vigilance cases/departmental inquiries pending at various stages and issue necessary directions to ensure their speedy completion.
“Processing regular departmental action cases in a timely manner is essential for good governance and a serious view will be taken on any delay even while processing cases”, the Government has made it clear.