Detailed guidelines for regular departmental actions and departmental enquiries have been laid down by the government to complete inquiries within a time-bound manner. However, for one reason or the other, such guidelines have remained in cold storage.
There have been numerous cases where proceedings of such nature are initiated, in some cases even charge-sheet issued, but are not concluded within the reasonable time.
The employee against whom the proceedings are pending is always kept on tenterhooks and denied service and terminal benefits that would become available to him but for the pendency and protraction of such proceedings. On the other hand, such delays also help in evading penalty on guilty official.
As has been observed and rightly also in the latest circular by the administration on the subject, in certain cases, the concerned 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 Regular Departmental Actions in accordance with the rules.
These acts are not only contrary to the provisions contained in the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1956 as also to the guidelines issued by Central Vigilance Commission but also seen as delaying tactic for conclusion of RDAs and departmental inquiries.
The Investigating Agencies like Anti Corruption Bureau or Crime Branch in many cases recommend RDA 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.
Not only the departments are required to initiate proceedings, the same are required to be concluded within a time bound manner.
The government has now reiterated the guidelines and all the concerned need to follow them in true letter and spirit. It has also rightly underlined that during the whole process, it should be ensured that principles of natural justice are followed and the charged officer and official is given opportunity of being heard or given access to the records in accordance with the prescribed rules.
In the given scenario, all instrumentalities of the government need to adhere to the timeline to complete inquiries. Any deviation from the timeline stipulated in the norms can only be for reasons recorded in writing. Otherwise where there is clear deviation, the government must act tough and take to task those responsible for the delay.