Some may debate pinning 22 yrs of service or 48 yrs age for retirement but LG Sinha surely intends good governance E
Some from state services would ask why Central Services Officers in UT cadres too should not be taken in fold
No doubt some may question the recent notification of J&K Government, S.O. 324 of date October 22, 2020, issued by order of the LG UT of J&K in exercise of powers conferred under proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution of India, amending Article 226(2) of the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Service Regulations so as to provide there in that Government may, if it is of the opinion that it is in the public interest to do so, require any Government servant other than one working on a post which is included in Schedule II of these Rules ( -List of appointments specially classed as inferior), to retire at any time after he ( ofcourse it should have been he/she) has completed 22 years of qualifying service or on attaining 48 years of age.
With the circumstances in hand there may be some scope for contesting the limits of 22yrs of service or 48 yrs of age but surely the spirit underlying the decision taken by LG Manoj Sinha cannot be questioned. Since the day Sinha landed in J&K Raj Bhawan he has been swearing that he has zero tolerance for inefficiency, corruption (may it be in political circles or bureaucratic circles), continuing agony of common man that may be due to bad governance/poor delivery of services even by the government institutions like that of health/ education/ security and the poor performance of mechanisms like Grievance Redressal institutions.
It appears that it has been his ethical commitment to what he has been expressing that just in his a little more than two months stay in J&K he appears to have felt the pulse of the way in the earlier times , like that of Governor Jagmohan ( 1986), whenever some isolated actions were taken by government to weed out non performing or and doubtful conduct officials by way of premature retirements the same had fallen in the courts on technical grounds and hence Sinha has put in place a regular system on October 22, 2020 of watch, ward and evaluation of the conduct of all the government employees who could ultimately matter in performing the public functions for which they are paid out of the state exchequer.
The notification points finger at ineffectiveness being there like in one’s service during the preceding 5 years or since his/her last promotion deteriorating suddenly or substantially even if no case of doubtful integrity had been there for initiation an action.
To just elaborate in 1986 (during Governor Jagmohan rule) some government officers were given premature retirement invoking the provisions of Rule 226 (2) of the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Service Regulations by issuing orders like Govt. Order No. 300 GR of 1986 dated April 25, 1986, Government order No.189 GR of 1986 dated April 11, 1986, 1986, Govt. order No. 947 GR of 1986 dated July 31, 1986, etc but since either the cases were not well structured before issuing orders or the petitions challenging some of the orders were not that well contested during judicial/legal review by the governments in the courts, some of the retired employees could hence get relief at some stages of legal trials. So unless a regular process for human resource evaluation is installed the experience has shown that it is has been very difficult to weed out bad elements/poor performers/dead wood with Art-311 of Constitution of India being there to protect the employee (Art-311: Dismissal, removal or reduction in rank of persons employed in civil capacities under the Union or a State .. 4 [(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).
To be brief the intent behind issue of SO 324 of October 22, 2020 could be well read in installation of a regular evaluation/review mechanism and the broad Criteria guidelines to be followed by the Review Committee while making the recommendations to the competent authority for ordering retirement where they lay stress on the integrity , effective in his /her work, fitness/ competence to continue in the post held and their utility for the purpose for which one is employed. The fair intentions of the Government further reflect from the notification where it says that a Government servant retiring on superannuation within a period of one year from the date of consideration of his case, may be retired where there is a sudden and steep fall in the competence, efficiency or effectiveness.
The notification appears well thought since the government employees to be covered under new rules exclude employees Specially classed as Inferior in Schedule -II of J&K CSR (like assistant patwaries, book keepers, smiths, rat control operators, farm Jamadars, watchers, Malies, cleaners, oilers, plumber, tahle boy, cooks, dhobi, mate etc) where the implications as regards delivery of public services may not be of that sensitive nature ( no doubt where there is more of manual input one’s physical condition/ chronic health issues could still matter).
Implementation of S.O 324 ground will have to be tested before in end use of the notification could be commented upon since now it has to be a regular process for every department and section there by involving large number of employees where regular following of time Schedule, regular maintenance of some registers, subsequent timely reviews. And committees like review committees, representation committee, internal committees, representation against retirement committee and putting up of cases to competent Authority for orders like subjects / events would regularly be involved.
And how this process will be conducted and how the human resource requirement will be met for maintaining the schedules will be a big challenge keeping in view that the Administrative Departments have not been able maintain discipline even in the time disposal of promotion / seniorities of employees for even years after their retirements where even the cases of a few officers retired from the posts of HOD like Chief Engineer are still waiting disposal in the Administrative Department where as one person who retired as CE in 2008 is still in 2020 drawing pension in the Grade of Assistant Executive Engineer even after the SAC on October 22, 2019 had ordered (SAC decision no 258/22/2019 ) that proposal for regular promotion in Engineering Cadre of J&K PDD be processed for consideration of competent authority in the Government through Establishment-Cum-selection committee without reference to JK PSC, as one time exception upto November 30, 2019 ( it is now about one month short of November 30, 2020).
So, those in administration who have to carry ahead the fair intentions and Mission Good Governance of LG Manoj Sinha too will have to be very true and frank in placing their real requirements of resources before the LG so as to take his mission further without any hurdles since there is every likelihood of some people working to the make the programme retard/ fail.
Ofcourse issues like cases of those employees who have already crossed 22yrs/ 48yrs land marks could be the immediate questions in addition to age and length of service parameters fixed. Some from state services would ask why Central Services Officers in state / UT cadres too should not be taken in the fold.
The mission is pious, people will have to support Sinha rising above personal issues.
Daya Sagar Sr Journalist / Analyst Jammu & Kashmir