Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A govt order quietly relaxes Lokpal norms; gives bureaucrats more time to declare assets in new format

THE government quietly relaxed norms of the much talked about Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 by issuing an executive order on February 15, 2014, as it found it extremely difficult to adhere to some of the deadlines inscribed in the new law itself. Though the government officers, according to the new law, had to furnish information on their assets and liabilities by February 15, (i.e. within 30 days from the date of coming into force of the Act), the government probably realized it was impossible to implement, and hence took the easy route of…
issuing what it called Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Removal of Difficulties) Order, 2014 notified on February 15, 2014, by which, a time period of 180 days was allowed for modification or amendment of the relevant rules, and also for framing of appropriate rules under section 44 of the Act. So, the bureaucrats will now have the time to submit their asset declaration forms, in sync with the new law, till July 15, 2014. It is however clarified here that Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Removal of Difficulties) Order was meant for removing difficulties and not for changing any substantive part of the Act for which the government of the day must go back to Parliament.
The section 44 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 requires furnishing of information relating to assets and liabilities,
(a) by the public servant on the occasion of entering upon office within 30 days from the date of assumption of office, and
(b) by a public servant holding his office as such within a period of 30 days from the date of coming into force of the Act. It also requires the filing of annual return of such assets and liabilities with the competent authority, on or before the July 31 every year; and the competent authority in respect of each ministry or department shall ensure such statements are published on the website of such ministry or department by the 31st day of August of that year.
The government has now asked for comments and suggestions from bureaucrats on a draft format that has been crafted to declare their assets and liabilities well in sync with Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013. The final format could be a little different from the current one in which bureaucrats presently declare their assets and liabilities under rule 18 of the Central Civil Services (Conduct Rules), 1964. The bureaucrats belonging to all departments or ministries are welcome to submit their comments by April 4, 2014, after which the DoPT will approve and issue the final format.

No comments:

Post a Comment