(Sample Material) Gist of IIPA Journal: Corruption and Need to Curb IT P.D. Malaviya

(Sample Material) Gist of Important Articles from IIPA Journal

Topic: Corruption and Need to Curb IT P.D. Malaviya

Appraisals of Integrity

Every year, hundreds of public servants are prosecuted for possession of assets disproportionate to their known sources of income and acquired over a period of ten years or so (the test period) but if one were to look into their appraisal reports for the relevant period, one would hardly ever find any adverse remarks about their integrity. Since it is wholly unlikely that all their superiors had remained ignorant of their dishonest activities over such long periods of lime or that they all willingly closed their eyes to them, it must be inferred that even the honest and the conscientious superiors arc constrained to avoid reporting adversely about the integrity of their subordinates for, some reasons. One reason, certainly, is that the procedure prescribed for recording adverse comments about in integrity and, later, substantiating them are very cumbersome and onerous. Therefore, if public servants of doubtful integrity are to be identified early and prevented from reaching the higher echelons of service and doing even greater damage, then t e procedure has to be changed.

Despite all the advances made in psychometric, there is still no reliable device available for rating the ‘soft’ traits, which are crucial in the higher ranks of the public services, such as Integrity, conduct under political pressure, courage of conviction, etc., and inferences about them have to be drawn from relatively insignificant incidents it is but seldom that events of such tremendous significance and magnitude take place that they reveal the secret truth of a man’s pretences, to others in a wholly unequivocal manner.

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It suggested that there should be an annual ‘character appraisal’ for the officer-cadres of the public services—entirely separate from performance appraisal-in something like the annexed format which should be confidential and based entirely upon ‘critical incidents’ which must be reported to the reviewing officer, together with the character appraisal. The reviewing officer should discuss the incidents in detail with the reporting officer and, if it is feasible to do so without compromising the confidentiality of the report, with the subordinate officer, check the facts for himself and then decide whether the inferences drawn by the reporting officer were ‘reasonable’ or not. He should then forward the character appraisal to the head of the service with his remarks and if the assessment is adverse, he should counsel the subordinate suitably. In case of adverse assessment, the head of the service should advice these officers to keep any on the subordinate so that he is assessed by a different set of reporting and reviewing officers in the subsequent years. The head should also advise these officers to keep an eye on the subordinate so that should an occasion arise when the train could manifest itself again, then it should be specifically mentioned in the character appraisal. In other words; the manifestation, or the non-manifestation of the previously noted trait must be reported in all subsequent years, whenever any ‘triggering’ even might have occurred. After, say, seven years and after assessment by two or three different sets or superiors, and after such enquires as the head of the service might have made, if a particular trait is confirmed, it should be put on formal record and then taken into account when considering his next promotion. This should ensure that a much larger promotion of dishonest officers would be screened out in time and yet, none would become a victim of personal prejudices of any of the superiors.

Secrecy is the sine qua non of corruption and the current rulers of official secrecy eminently suit the wheelers and the dealers. But rules apart, there is a marked reluctance among public servants to share information with the outsiders, even when they known that something very wrong is going on. This is so mainly because someone informing on his colleagues—even if the colleague is involved in grossly infamous activities—its looked upon as a cad by his peers, an partly because no one wants to get involved in an unsavory controversy which could result from sharing his doubts and suspicions (and even clear proof) with outsiders.

This is really something for the leading’ rights in the public services to ponder seriously. The point is whether a public servant owes any loyalty to the public and to the state, whose fabric is beings torn apart by the burgeoning scams nod scandal; it needs to be made absolutely clear whether loyalty to the public and the state transcends (or not) loyalty to colleagues, to the department, and day government of the day. The instance which springs to the mind in this contexdt is that of Watergate scandal. There is no doubt that he culpability of the President and his close associates was exposed primarily by the ‘Deep Throat’. Should one say that he was a cad whose example must be shunned by all ‘decent’ public servants or should one say that he was a real public servant, a true patriot? If Deep Throat was right and if it is conceded that the renderd a singal service to the American people and the American State, then should his example not be emulated by our public servants? Should it not be impressed upon our bureaucrants that is more honourable to expose wrong-doings, even clandestinely, than to become a party through omission to the betrayals of the public trust?

Public Enquires

It is noticed that enquiries instituted under the Commission of Enquiries Act generally take a very long time for completion. More delays take place before the report is made public and action initiated, particularly if a political party which favours the invited persons comes to power in the meantime. When the commission of an offence is disclosed in the report, more time is then spent on the investigation and, sometimes, even more time is spent in securing sanction for prosecution. These delays not only diminish the impact of the enquiry but they have also given rise to the public perception that ordering a public enquiry is only a political ploy to bury the matter till the public has lost interest.

To avoid some of these delays, it is suggested that whenever a Chief Justice of a High Court of a Judge of the Supreme Court (Sitting or retired) is appointed to preside over a Commission of Enquiry, a reputed lawyer should be appointed as the Secretary of the Commission and he should be charged with the responsibility of laying a complaint in the competent court under Section 190(1)(C) of the Criminal Procedure Act and of prosecuting the case. The courts should also be empowered, by amending the laws, to take cognizance of such cases (or, at least, cases involving corruption and financial frauds) without the sanction of the government concerned.

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