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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Centre to empower common man to punish corrupt babus

The move comes after a Supreme Court judgement said there is no provision in relevant laws which bars a citizen from filing a complaint for prosecution of a public servant who is alleged to have committed an offence
In a first, the Centre has decided to empower common man to seek prosecution of corrupt IAS officers.
The move comes after a Supreme Court judgement, in the case of Subramanian Swamy versus former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and others, saying there is no provision in relevant laws which bars a citizen from filing a complaint for prosecution of a public servant who is alleged to have committed an offence.
Following this verdict, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) is in receipt of requests from private persons seeking sanction for prosecution in respect of IAS officers without any proper proposal and supporting documents. 
It is observed that such requests, as are received from citizens are more in the nature of complaints sans any supporting details, evidence, which can at best merit inquiry of substantial facts as are evidenced i.e such requests are without any proposal and supporting documents, the DoPT said in a draft guidelines issued today.
Keeping in view the basic parameters and requirements for cases received from investigating agencies, it has been decided to streamline the procedure for handling the requests for prosecution sanction received from the private person, it said.
"A proposal from a private individual seeking sanction for prosecution of an IAS officer serving in the state government may be routed through the concerned state government as such state government is best placed to provide basic inputs as regards the alleged misconduct of the concerned public servant who is or was working under its administrative control.
"In case a proposal is received directly by DoPT by such private individuals, will be forwarded to the state governments for the preliminary examination by such state government vis-a-vis the relevant records," it said. If there is a prima facie case against an IAS officer, the state government should prepare a detailed report and consider obtaining version of the concerned officer.
Such report alongwith all relevant records and evidence should be forwarded to DoPT (which is the cadre controlling authority for such officers) with the approval of the competent authority there, the proposed guidelines said. 
In case the concerned state government after examination of relevant records and other evidence is of the view that prima facie no case is made out of any alleged misconduct which may constitute an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, it shall inform the person who has made the request for sanction for prosecution about it, the DOPT said. 
In case a prima facie case is made out, the same will be treated as a proposal as per existing procedures to initiate action for processing the matter for decision of the competent authority, it said. 
All state governments and central government ministries have been asked to provide their comments on the proposed guidelines by August 12.

"A period of three months for disposing of such proposals would commence from the date of receipt of complete proposal with all relevant material and the aforesaid report from the concerned state governments," the DoPT said.
A total of 4,926 IAS officers are working across the country as against its total sanctioned strength of 6,396.
The apex court had in its judgement given in 2012 observed that "if the competent authority is satisfied that the material placed before it is sufficient for prosecution of the public servant, then it is required to grant sanction. 

"If the satisfaction of the competent authority is otherwise, then it can refuse sanction. In either case, the decision taken on the complaint made by a citizen is required to be communicated to him and if he feels aggrieved by such decision, then he can avail appropriate legal remedy".

It was also observed by the Supreme Court that "At the same time, we deem it proper to observe that in future every competent authority shall take appropriate action on the representation made by a citizen for sanction of the prosecution of a public servant, so as to identify and obviate the areas causing delays in processing of such proposals ...".
In actual fact the move may never be successful due to hood winking and inordinately delayed action or no action at all, since the babus will themselves sit in justice of each case. So, a futile move by the government.

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