oppn parties Action Under Fundamental Rule 56-J Must Be Taken In All Government Departments

News Snippets

  • Flipkart assures employees that there will be no job or salary cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Although it was obvious, but the government still clarifies that there is no need to switch off appliances and only lights need to be switched off on April 5 at 9pm after confusion in the minds of some people
  • PM Modi and President Trump decide "to deploy full strength of (Indo-US) partnership" to fight against COVID-19
  • 17 states have reported 1023 cases of coronavirus linked to the Tablighi Jamaat, which translates to 30% of all positive cases in India
  • The government says people should not use alcohol-based hand sanitizers before lighting diyas or candles on April 5
  • The railways say there is no certainty yet when services will resume after the lockdown and a final decision will be taken in the next few days
  • As coronavirus cases multiply in Assam, six north-east states seal their borders with the state
  • Power System Operation Corporation Ltd. (POCOSO) putting all systems and protocols in place at war-footing to ensure there is no grid failure due to reduction in demand on April 5 at 9 pm
  • Power ministry scotches rumours that the power grid might fail due to the 9-minute blackout called by PM Modi on Sunday, April 5
  • Centre asks people to wear home-made masks if it is absolutely essential for them to step out of homes
  • Centre asks states to allow licensed street vendors to sell essential items
  • 8000 samples were tested across India on April 2, but the government said that testing will be need-based and will not be used as a confidence-boosting measure
  • Air India operating special flights to fly passengers stuck in India since the lockdown
  • For the first time in history, Darjeeling loses first flush tea due to suspension of garden work for Covid-19 outbreak
  • Supreme Court asks journalists to be responsible and publish only the official version of news after it was brought to its notice that migrant exodus started after the 'fake' news that the lockdown will be extended to three months
Total count stands ar 3082 as India records 16 Covid-19 deaths, the highest in a single day
oppn parties
Action Under Fundamental Rule 56-J Must Be Taken In All Government Departments

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

The Centre has, till now, dismissed (the polite term is compulsorily retired) more than 60 Income Tax officers from service using the Fundamental Rule 56-J. These include officers of the rank of principal commissioner joint commissioner, assistant and deputy assistant commissioner. The government was getting feedback that corrupt and inflexible officers were harassing the taxpayers. The buzz of corruption in respect of several senior officers was very strong. There were charges of inefficiency and worse against others.

Punitive action against government officers is a tricky thing. It can lead to dissension and court cases. In the present case, some of the dismissed officers had approached the courts for relief but did not get any. This was because the Supreme Court has been very strict in this regard and has held that the Rule 56-J is in consonance with the constitution. The government has the right to dismiss its Group A, B and C employees under Fundamental Rule 56-J read with Rule 48(1) of the Pension Rules, 1972 if they have either completed 30 years of service or had joined before the age of 35 and have reached the age of 50 (55 in some cases) if their performance is not considered up to the mark.

These rules exist for a long time. But the lack of political will in enforcing them and a chalta hai attitude of previous governments had allowed corrupt officers to make hay. There have been instances where such officers have themselves suggested the loopholes to the taxpayers to get relief of enormous sums of money after their palms were suitably greased. Then, some unscrupulous officers used to threaten taxpayers of action if they were not paid off. But now that action is being taken regularly, the message is likely to percolate down the ranks that corruption and inefficiency will not be tolerated.

While it is good that the government is moving against such officers, why are other departments not being targeted? There are corrupt officers in almost every government department. The action under Fundamental Rule 56-J should be applied in all departments to weed out the corrupt and inefficient officers since they are dirtying the whole pond and not allowing others to work ethically. They are also passing orders that are saddling departments with unnecessary litigation and increasing the workload and also clogging the judicial system.  The sooner the system is rid of these officers, the better it will be for the governance of the nation. The best thing would be that the action would put the fear of law in the rest and the level of corruption will fall drastically. The states should also take the cue and initiate action in their departments under the relevant rules applicable to their employees. 

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