CHANDIGARH : Anna effect has brought the government on its toes resulting in digging out anti-corruption laws buried under the debris of time and speed up action against corrupt officials. But here in Chandigarh Administration anti-corruption rules “Punjab Civil Services (Premature Retirement) Rules-1975” as applicable to Chandigarh has not been used for the past 36 years. What has not done in 36 years is also not likely to happen now. It is revealed in a letter of January 3, 2012 by the Department of Home, Chandigarh Administration, Chandigarh in reply to an enquiry.
The letter states, ”No such employee so far retired compulsorily by the Administration by using the rules therein.” Though in February, 1999, the Deputy Secretary, Personnel, Chandigarh Administration, has issued explicit directions in a letter to all heads of departments/offices and administrative secretaries in Chandigarh Administration for strictly compliance of said rules that empower the ‘appropriate authority’ to weed out corrupt, dishonest or inefficient officers/officials from services and warned that no slackness be shown as this would be viewed seriously.
Under the rule 3(1) inter-alia provide that the ‘appropriate authority’ shall, if it is of the opinion, in public interest to do so, have the absolute right by giving an employee three months notice to retire an employee who completes 25 years of service or attains 50 years of age.
The letter further rues that in spite of clear cut provisions in the rules, it has been observed that the cases of employees in Chandigarh Administration were not being reviewed by the appropriate authority with the result the employees who have outlived their utility and have become ineffective and whose integrity was doubtful continue in service till their superannuation which defeated the anxiety of the government to improve efficiency and strengthen administrative machinery at all levels in public interest.
Again in March, 2004, Joint Secretary, Home, Chandigarh Administration has written to all heads of departments/offices/institutions/Boards/Corporations stated that the instructions were not being complied with in letter and spirit. Authorities were directed to furnish a quarterly return, indicating the total number of cases of employees of all classes (including Class-IV), reviewed, classwise and the number of cases where it has been decided to retire the person concerned in public interest.
When reaching out the Home Secretary Anil Kumar for his comment on the matter, he said that there were a number of such directives in the air. How can he say one or the other was corrupt without specific proofs? “Bring specific case to me with proofs, action will be taken,” he said.
Comments from the section of officials summed up that those in power have found ways to get around it. Number of laws and watchdog institutions continue to flourish so was the corruption. “Don’t trash the rules, fault lies in non-implementation,” said an employee.
On the other hand, in a recent judgement, the Punjab and Haryana High Court asserted: “The dishonest, corrupt and dead-wood necessarily deserve to be dispensed with.” Recently, Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) observed that corruption has corroded every organ of public life and advocated for strong mechanism in the system.
An official of deputy commissioner’s office said that the campaign against corruption would remain hypocritical and superficial as long as the nexus between politician and bureaucrat continued to make a mockery of the legal provisions. “Rules have been implemented when the majority of senior officers used to be fairly honest, not now when majority of officers are known to be corrupt. It is not fair for a corrupt official to compulsorily retire another corrupt official,” he said.