Complete departmental enquiries within three months, govt tells officials
Srinagar: In a significant move to ensure transparency in governance in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the government on Tuesday directed departments to monitor each departmental enquiry to ensure its completion in a time -bound manner within a period of three months and not more than six months in any case.
The government directed departments to conduct departmental enquiries in a time–bound manner and share their outcome with General Administration Department (GAD).
“The administrative secretaries/heads of departments should take periodical review of the vigilance/ departmental enquiries pending at various stages and issued necessary directions, as may be required, to ensure their speedy completion,” reads the circular issued by secretary, GAD, Farooq Ahmad Lone.
“All concerned should be informed that processing Regular Departmental Action(RDA) 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 directive further states.
The government has taken serious note of violation of rules and procedures by officers while holding departmental enquiries.
“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,” the circular states.
The GAD has slammed departments for using “delay tactics” to avoid conclusion of departmental enquiries in accordance with the rules.
“In some cases, it has also been observed that after receiving recommendations from the Investigating Agencies, the department instead of serving charge-sheet to the delinquent public servant(s) 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. In many other cases, it has been observed that even after the conclusion of departmental proceedings, Government Orders/Orders are not issued,” the circular states.
The government has also reiterated guidelines to be followed by departments while conducting departmental enquiry.
“The Investigating Agencies – Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) or J&K Crime Branch (CB), in many cases, recommend Regular Departmental Action against delinquent public servant(s) pursuant to which the departments are required to initiate departmental proceedings, in accordance with the procedures laid down in Rule 33 of J&K Civil Services (Classification, Control & Appeal) Rules, 1956, and conclude the same in a time bound manner” read the guideline.
The guidelines reveal that the matter should be critically examined to determine as to whether a case for initiation of departmental proceedings is made out or not.
“If need arises, clarifications/more inputs should be obtained from the Investigating Agency/GAD (Vigilance),” the circular states.
After the department arrives at a conclusion for initiation of departmental proceedings, according to the circular, Articles of Charge should be framed and served upon the delinquent officer/official.
“Adequate opportunity should be given to the charged officer/official to present his/her case in person or through an advocate, and should be given access to all records/documents related to the case and provide the same if so requested,” the circular states.
It states that adequate opportunity should be given to the charged officer/official to present his/her case in person or through an advocate, and should be given access to all records/documents related to the case.
“After receiving the reply to the charges framed against the officer/official, same should be analyzed critically to arrive at a conclusion whether an inquiry officer is required to be appointed to inquire into the charges so framed or not,” the circular states.
According to guidelines, an inquiry Officer should be appointed, with the approval of the competent authority, after arriving at a conclusion that such an inquiry is actually required. The inquiry officer should be given fixed time frame to complete the inquiry and submit the report.
“A presenting officer should also be appointed who would present the case, on behalf of the Government, before the Inquiry Officer,” it states.
The government has also directed that action should be initiated against inquiry officer if he/s he fails to complete the inquiry in a time bound manner. “The report of the inquiry officer should then be analyzed and examined carefully to arrive at a decision about either the exoneration of officer/official from the charges or penalty to be imposed in accordance with the rules with the approval of the Competent Authority,” the circular states.