Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Adarsh Scam: Prithviraj Chavan for amending Article 311 to punish serving officials

Chavan (left) with PM during Civil Service Day (file photo) 
AS former Union minister managing DoPT, current Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan understands the nuances of babudom better than anyone else. Faced with the growing criticism that he had failed to take any action against IAS officers charged with irregularities in Adarsh housing society scam, Chavan has now talked about the need to amend the Article 311 of the Constitution which makes it difficult for the government to take actions against a serving official.
While replying in a discussion at the legislative council, Chavan said unless the Article 311 of the Constitution is amended, it’s difficult to take immediate action against any serving officials. He said that his government has so far taken action only against two retired officials.
Though 21 officials are connected with the case either for taking decisions or owning a flat in the building, the CBI has named only 14 accused so far. Seven of them are defence officials, two politicians, one a central government official and one a retired state official, the chief minister further added.
But the big question remains – will amendment of Article 311 if it is done lead to its misuse by politicians against bureaucrats?

Here is what Article 311 of the Constitution of India says:
Dismissal, removal or reduction in rank of persons employed in civil capacities under the Union or a State
1. No person who is a member of a civil service of the Union or an all-India service or a civil service of a State or holds a civil post under the Union or a State shall be dismissed or removed by an authority subordinate to that by which he was appointed.
2. No such person as aforesaid shall be dismissed or removed or reduced in rank except after an inquiry in which he has been informed of the charges against him and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges:
Provided that where it is proposed after such inquiry, to impose upon him any such penalty, such penalty may be imposed on the basis of the evidence adduced during such inquiry and it shall not be necessary to give such person any opportunity of making representation on the penalty proposed: Provided further that this clause shall not apply-
a. where a person is dismissed or removed or reduced in rank on the ground of conduct which has led to his conviction on a criminal charge; or 
b. where the authority empowered to dismiss or remove a person or to reduce him in rank is satisfied that for some reason, to be recorded by that authority in writing, it is not reasonably practicable to hold such inquiry; or 
c. where the President or the Governor, as the case may be, is satisfied that in the interest of the security of the State it is not expedient to hold such inquiry.
If, in respect of any such person as aforesaid, a question arises whether it is reasonably practicable to hold such inquiry as is referred to in clause (2), the decision thereon of the authority empowered to dismiss or remove such person or to reduce him in rank shall be final.

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