Govt Pulled Up For Shielding Corrupt Officials
9 July 2014
: A Division Bench of the State High Court comprising chief justice M.M.Kumar and Justice Tashi Rabstan Wednesday issued various directions of wide public importance in a much publicized public interest litigation filed by two social activists Shiekh Muhammad Shafi and Prof S.K.Bhalla. The DB after hearing Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocate Suraj Singh appearing for the PIL whereas senior additional advocate general Gagan Basotra for the state of Jammu and Kashmir and senior advocate Sunil Sethi with advocate Ankesh Chandel expressed its dissatisfaction over the pace of 147 departmental inquiries pending against various gazetted-non-gazetted officers of the state against whom there are serious allegations of corruption, misappropriation and fraudulent transactions causing heavy loss to the public exchequer. The DB after going through the compliance reports dated 29 May, 6 June, 4 July 2014 and 7 July 2014, the court observed that it has been submitted that twelve departmental inquiries have been disposed off by different departments including School Education, Cooperative Department, Health and Medical Education Department, Rural Development Department, Public Works Department and J&K Special Tribunal. The court further observed that it has not been disclosed in these 12 inquiries as to what were the nature of allegations and the status of the delinquent employees. The Court is constraint to observe that the GAD is slack in securing information from the concerned departments for obvious reasons and the concerned departments are shying away in disclosing complete information. Our attention has been drawn to annexure R-4 which gives the list of cases pending against officers-officials. The name of the officer is concealed nor the present place of posting has been revealed. Is it with the apprehension that there nexus with might would be exposed or with some other motives? The perusal of the list would show that the officers suffer from serious allegations. At item number 5, for example, the name of the officer has been withheld, who belongs to Revenue Department nor his place of posting has been revealed. Officers suffer from the allegation of transfer of 1200 kanals of government land to land grabbers in Kot Balwal area of Jammu district. It has been stated that the matter has been sent to Divisional Commissioner Jammu on 7 July 2011 for legal action against those who had sold land in excess of their share and further departmental action agains t the responsible revenue officers has been recommended who have issued the 'Fard Intikahb' for the sale of the land. What happened after 7 July 2011 has not been revealed and all that has been said is that action taken report is awaited. The DB looking into similar such lapses directed the Commissioner-Secretary GAD to submit a detailed report of all the 147 departmental inquries by filing a report before the next date of hearing. And in case the report is not filed then Commissioner Secretary GAD shall remain present in person. The DB further said if a person who suffer from serious allegations of corruptions then he would not deserve a public dealing posting. The DB also issued directions for immediate filling up of the post of CPO's in order to make seven courts of additional district and session judges who have been empowered to deal with cases under prevention of corruption. The DB also took serious note of inaction on the part of the Higher Education Department for not taking action against two Principals namely Prof Nutan Kumar Resudra and Prof Hemla Aggrawal. The then Principal Government Degree College Rajouri, presently, Nodal Principal GGM Scinece College Jammu and then Principal SPMR College of Commerce Jammu and presently Principal government degree college for women Parade Jammu. The DB observed that in case of Prof Resudra an inquiry was conducted and report was submitted on 20 August 2011 and thereafter a show cause notice was served on him on 9 September 2011 and thereafter the matter was referred to the commission of inquiries. The DB after expressing its displeasure observed that we fail to understand the procedure adopted for referring the matter to commission of inquires because after the inquiry has been completed the show cause notice issued and the reply is filed then the appointing authority is required to go into the issues raised in the reply and pass appropriate orders. Likewise, in the case Dr Hemla Aggarwal, an inquiry report was submitted on 4 February 2010, which was sent to her on 9 November 2010. She submitted her reply on 9 May 2012 and thereafter she was issued a show cause notice on 2 December 2012. In both the cases, there is unnecessary delay, which appears to be deliberate act. Is there a hidden hand, who wishes to shield these officers or there are justifiable reasons for the delay of two to three years in finalizing the reply to show cause notice. Upon this the DB directed that the action be taken on the show cause notice issued to both the officers and the status report be filed before the next date of hearing that is 11 August 2014.