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How Dispur defeats purpose

Departmental proceedings

Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, June 29: The very purpose of placing employees under suspension and drawing departmental proceedings (DPs) against them is often defeated in Assam, as in most of the cases, due to non-adherence to time stipulations made in the service rules. It seems, ‘time is of the essence’ is far from being adopted in the State administration.

When an employee is found to have involved in moral turpitude, corruption, misappropriation of government money, misuse of official power, desertion of duty, etc, he/she is placed under suspension. The routine being followed is: soon after placing an employee under suspension a clarification is sought from him/her. If the clarification is up to the satisfaction of the authority concerned, the suspension is withdrawn.

However, when the clarification is not satisfactory, departmental proceeding (DP) is drawn against the employee. This is where the system often goes wrong in the State. According to service rules, when DP is drawn against an official, charges against him/her should be framed so as to complete the proceedings within three months. However, in departments like Education, PWD, Health etc there are instances of such DPs going on even for a decade. During the suspension period, an employee draws half of his/her salary.

According to the service rules, when the DP against an employee exceeds the time-stipulation of three months, he/she can move the court to get reinstated in his/her job. A section of suspended officials like to take this course and get reinstated. However, there is another section of suspended officials who, for reasons best known to them, seem to intend to stay suspended for years and on. When such employees get reinstated in their jobs, they get their arrear salaries at a time.

Every appointing authority is supposed to submit to the Personnel (B) Department under intimation to the respective administrative departments a quarterly return of government servants placed under suspension and of position of all departmental proceedings. The return should be so submitted that it reaches Personnel (B) Department within 15 days from the close of the quarter. However, as often as not, such time stipulations are not met in the State.

Of late, matters like bringing about administrative reforms and ensuring clean administration are talked about much in Assam. However, so long the administration does not realize what ‘time is of the essence’ exactly signify, all such efforts continue to be a futile exercise. How come the DP against an official continues for a decade? This is what those at the helm of affairs need to rack their brains.