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

News Snippets

  • The government decides to decriminalize more than two-thirds of penal sections in the Companies Act
  • Muslim groups tell the Supreme Court that they want the Babri Masjid to be restored
  • Muslim groups claim that while they were asked questions in court, Hindus were not questioned
  • Postpaid mobile services restored in Jammu & Kashmir from today, but still no internet
  • Abhijit Banerjee, an Indian-American currently a professor at MIT, wins the 2019 Noble prize in economics jointly with two others
  • Industrial output slumps in August as the IIP shrinks by 1.1%
  • Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping watch a cultural show at the Shore Temple in Mamallapuram
  • J&K administration lifts the ban on entry of tourists in the Valley, but it remains doubtful how many will visit without being able to use mobile phones and internet
  • After Sena asks members to support the BJP candidate in Kalyan, 26 party corporators and 300 members resign setting off a crisis
  • The Centre sets up a 12-member committee to suggest systemic changes in the GST structure to improve compliance and collection, prevent misuse and evasion and rationalize rates and slabs
  • In line with the RBI outlook on the Indian economy, rating firm Moody's also downgrades growth forecast from 6.8% to 5.8% this year, saying the economy is experiencing a pronounced slowdown
  • HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh says the financial system in India does not offer foolproof security for misuse of the savings of the common man
  • Shivinder Singh and Malvinder Singh, promoters of Ranbaxy and Fortis, arrested for their role in Religare Finvest scam
  • Supreme Court says marriage can be dissolved if it has broken down irretrievably
  • DA of Central government staff hiked by 5% to 17%
Sourav Ganguly is the new president of BCCI, says conflict of interest is a big concern
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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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