Delay Fine For J&K Officials24 March 2011
The Telegraph (Kolkata)
Srinagar: Employees of the Jammu and Kashmir government will now have to cough up money if they fail to provide public services promptly. Chief minister Omar Abdullah today moved a bill that will give people the right to public services within a specified time and hold officials responsible for any deficiency. Officials said the bill was likely to be passed in the current Assembly session. The bill provides for a Rs 250 fine for each day of delay, or a Rs 5,000 fine - whichever is less - if the service sought is denied or delayed. The erring official must also cough up Rs 2,000 in case of any deficiency and, in addition, may face disciplinary action. The aggrieved citizen is entitled to a portion of the fine. “The bill will enable consumers receive ration cards, electric and water connections, driving licences, registration certificates, revenue papers and scores of similar public services from government functionaries within the prescribed time limit,” Omar said. These services now come at a cost because of rampant corruption. Consumers often have to wait weeks or months to receive the services. “The bill empowers the general public to make administration accountable to the people at all levels,” a government spokesperson said. “The applicant can appeal if his application is rejected by the designated official. If the applicant is not satisfied with the decision on the first appeal, he can go in for a second appeal.” The appellate authority too will be fined if it fails to decide an appeal “without any sufficient and reasonable cause”, says the bill. A fine of Rs 500 to Rs 5,000 will be imposed on the first appellate authority. The aggrieved appellant is entitled to a portion of this fine, too. “The bill envisages a comprehensive mechanism including notification of designated officers and appellate authorities, also specifying the time frame for delivery of public service to the people of the state,” the bill reads.