Hope atleast LG Manoj Sinha succeeds in initiating start of clean & good governance

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DAYA SAGAR

When ever a new government is sworn in or when ever governor rule was imposed in J&K first intentions have been expressed to clear the administration of dead wood / non perfornmers / wood corrupt elements. Mufti Mohd Sayeed as well as Ghulam Nabi Azad too had expressed such commitments when there was Congress- PDP government from 2002-2008. Once again after March 1, 2015 Mufti Mohd Sayeed had expressed intentions to clear the dead wood and his governemnt had in June 2015 issued orders for pre mature retirement of 67 officer (including some KAS officers and also three Chief Engineers) who were served the orders individually. But some of the orders could not stand a judicial review and were quashed by the court (on 8/11/2017 order No.863-GAD dated June 30, 2015 was quashed; order 866-GAD of 2015 dated 30.06.2015 was quashed on 11/11/2016; order 893-GAD of 2015 dated 30.6.2015 quashed on 01-05-2017).

Such actions of the Government that proved infirm before the courts did also bring bad name for government as well as to some officers who were otherwise unduly made to suffer social stigma.
In 2014 the BJP lead NDA-II Governemnt had vowed to accomplish the ‘project – corruption clean India’. J&K too was under PDP-BJP coalition government from 1st march 2015 till 19 June 2018 ( with a short spell of governor rule after the death of CM Mufti Mohd Sayeed from 8 Jan 2016. to 4th April 2016 ).
Satya Pal Malik after taking over as J&K Governor on 23rd August 2018 too at occasions expressed intentions for providing good governance and on 26th Oct Governor Satya Pal Malik had amended Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Corruption Act, 2006 and Jammu and Kashmir State Vigilance Commission Act, 2011 to established Anti-Corruption Bureau in the State with the intentions to enable the existing anti-corruption mechanism teffectively handle the menace.It was hoped that some examples would be set before installation of popular government.
But the then Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on 2nd November 2018 while delivering a lecture at Patna University had said that the twin evils of corruption and nepotism are at their peak in Jammu & Kashmir.
During the times of Jagmohan J&K came under governor’s rule two times (from 6-3-1986 to 7-11-1986 and 19-1-1990 to 26 May 1990). Jagmohan did take some steps for weeding out non performing officials / officials of doubtful integrity by ordering some pre mature retirements and had also disallowed the private practice to Government doctors. But nearly all of his orders that were challenged / questioned by the affected ‘classes’ did not either stand to the judicial reviews / trials or were undone when the political governments returned. So in case any administration ventures into applying some corrections by weeding out corrupt elements utmost care need be taken for proper investigations and proper structuring of orders for removing a corrupt / non performing officer from active service.
In the earlier past also some premature retirements had been ordered mentioning that action taken was in interest of administration/ public but since the normal benefits like gratuity and pension were alsoallowed to the retiree the same provision was used by the affected officers pleading that some of them had progressed without problem from 1st gazetted level to the level of HOD hence how could it be said that they are not required in public interest. Making the orders without retirement benefits toocould be considered in some cases of acute default / doubtful integrity so that one is not able take shelter in the courts contesting that had his/ her conduct been bad he/ she would not have been given pension / gratuity.One may even plead that the action of government has in addition brought one unduly under social stigma.
Whenever J&K has remained under Governor’s rule since 1980s, though for short spells ( except from 1990-1996) , some legislative/ administrative corrective steps for weeding out corrupt elements had been taken/ initiated by the Governor administration but there too the “affected people” managed to get the orders reversed during the times of the elected governments or through judicial remedies taking advantage of the lacunae left while processing the administrative files.
In 2016 some intentions for weeding out “dead wood / corrupt elements” were shown by N.N Vohra but it was learnt that administrative departments / GAD/ Chief Secretary had expressed difficulties in screening out the corrupt elements/ nonperforming elements / elements of doubtful integrity since even the annual performance report / records were incomplete in many cases. The intentions / capacity of N. N. Vohra who had the unique distinction of having worked as Union Defence Secretary/ Union Home Secretary ; of having been appointed as interlocutor for J&K in 2003 during the NDA -I Government; having remained J&K Governor during UPA rule from 2008 onwards till 2014 and of further carrying the faith of even Narendra Modi NDA-II government since 2014 beyond 2017 having ; earned confidence of Atal Behari Vajpayee / Manmohan Singh / Narendra Modi were surely fair but could not be tested on ground since political government was sworn in again on 4th April 2016.
Some short comings in the exercises done by administration in the past that were used / could be used by the affected officers to their strength maybe like (i) pleading that they had excellent service carrier where one moved from Asstt. Engineer to level of Chief Engineer (ii) they have been retired with pension & gratuity intact ( had their conduct been bad they should have not been given pension / gratuity ) (iii) they have had never been served warnings for doubtful conduct / poor performance and like and hence the system of regular performance appraisal / conduct like annual reports should be kept up to date making the immediate superior officer responsible for that .
LG Manoj Sinha may hence call the case files of officers and court case records concerning pre mature retirement orders like Govt. Order No. 300 GR of 1986 dated 25-4-1986, Government order No.189GR of 1986 dated 11.4.1986, 1986 and Govt. order No. 947 GR of 1986 dated 31 July 1986 that did not stand to judicial test and cases of some officers taken back in 2017 who had been retired by Mufti Mohd Sayeed government in 2015 .It is not out of place to suggest here that any loop holes/ incompleteness left in 1986 and in case like that of 2015 must be sealed if at all the present governor administration ventures into any of such like corrective actions.
(Daya Sagar : Sr, Journalist & Social Activist [email protected])