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Now, corrupt govt. officials to be immediately dismissed
Thu Aug 12 21:45:14 2010
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 madanme image By Madanme
Member since:Jun 22, 2010 23:18:57

Bangalore: Corruption may soon find it difficult to hang on to bureaucrats official positions of since the high-level committee has recommended immediate dismissal of such officials in Group A and B, and Class I and II services. A fast-track system to penalize high-ranking central government and all-India services officers charged with corrupt practices or lack of integrity, reports Vineeta Pandey from DNA.

The officers, however, can avail of all seniority and service benefits after acquittal.

The committee has suggested plea bargaining for government employees facing disciplinary inquiries. Employees opting for this facility and admitting to guilt should be given a lenient penalty, it says. However, those facing charges of graft and lack of integrity do not get this cover.

It recommends 10-50% cut in pension and forfeiture of gratuity while handing over compulsory retirement as a penalty to delinquent officials. It has suggested special powers for inquiry officers to prevent delays in the disposal of disciplinary inquiries.

The powers can be exercised to ensure attendance of witnesses and production of documents. As far as possible, the inquiry officer should conduct the hearing on a day-to-day basis, it says.
"To ensure that innocent officers do not get penalised, dismissal of officers should be cleared by a high-level committee headed bya high court judge. There can be a brief trial to check if the case is fit for dismissal and the officer can make representations before the committee to prove innocence," said former UPSC chairman PC Hota.

He added the Central Bureau of Investigation and inquiry committees make mistakes sometimes.
Hota headed the high-level committee. The other experts on the panel were former vigilance commissioner P Shankar and former secretary of the department of personnel and training Arvind Varma. It was constituted by the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions to review the procedure of disciplinary/vigilance inquiries and recommend measures for their expeditious disposal.

The committee recommended amendment in the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) to mandate prior sanction for prosecution of government servants even after their retirement bringing it on a par with the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) process. This is to ensure that in-service government servants act boldly and without fear of harassment after retirement.

At present, government servants can be prosecuted without sanction once they have retired from service. However, under Section 197 of the CrPC, sanction is required for retired government servants, who were appointees of the president or the governor.

The committee has also suggested establishment of states vigilance commissions on the lines of the central vigilance commission and monitoring cells in each department/ministry to review the progress of all disciplinary inquiries. It has suggested a separate column in the annual performance appraisal report (APAR) regarding the number of inquiries handled by an officer.

It recommends that where a criminal case is under investigation, and the charge sheet is not filed in the court within one year from the date of the FIR, the officer may be considered for promotion/deputation unless the disciplinary authority decides to deny deputation/promotion to such officer.

"In cases of abuse of power by the disciplinary authority, if the chief vigilance commissioner believes that the proposal to initiate the inquiry was baseless, he may advise punitive action against the disciplinary authority. This would ensure that there is responsible exercise of power by the disciplinary authority and witch-hunting of honest government servants would be prevented," the committee said in its report to the government.

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Madan Mohan
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