New Delhi: Officials indicted with corruption will have a tough time holding on to their jobs as a high-level committee has directed such officials to be terminated right away. This will come more into force for Group A and B, and Class I and II services, reports Vineeta Pandey of DNA.
Among other recommendations made by the committee include putting a fast track system into place to penalize high ranking central government and all-India services officers charged with corrupt practices or lack of integrity.
However, even after their acquittal, the bureaucrats can avail all the benefits related to seniority and service.
The committee added that employees who admit to their guilt should be considered for a lenient sentence. However, those charged of graft and lack of integrity do not come under this purview. The committee also added a 10 to 50 percent cut in pension and forfeiture of gratuity to offending officials who are awarded compulsory retirement as a penalty.
The committee's suggestions also empower the inquiry officials to prevent delays in the disposal of disciplinary inquiries. They can also command their authority to ensure attendance of witnesses and production of documents.
P.C.Hota, former UPSC Chairman, who headed the high level committee said, "To ensure that innocent officers do not get penalized, dismissal of officers should be cleared by a high-level committee headed by a high court judge. There can be a brief trial to check if the case is fit for dismissal and the officer can make representations before the committee to prove innocence."
The committee was constituted by the ministry of personnel public grievances and pensions to review the procedure of disciplinary/vigilance inquiries and recommend measures for their expeditious disposal. It comprises of experts such as former vigilance commissioner P Shankar and former secretary of the department of personnel and training Arvind Varma.
The committee also recommended amendment in the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) to mandate prior sanction for prosecution of government servants even after their retirement bringing it on a par with the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) process.
Other suggestions by the committee include establishment of states vigilance commissions on the lines of the central vigilance commission and monitoring cells in each department/ministry to review the progress of all disciplinary inquiries.
In its report to the government, the committee said, "In cases of abuse of power by the disciplinary authority, if the chief vigilance commissioner believes that the proposal to initiate the inquiry was baseless, he may advise punitive action against the disciplinary authority. This would ensure that there is responsible exercise of power by the disciplinary authority and witch-hunting of honest government servants would be prevented."