Sie sind auf Seite 1von 2

TODAY'SPAPEROPINION

Published:February9,201600:00IST|Updated:February9,201614:30ISTFebruary9,2016

Anorderagainsttheantigraftfight

R.K.Raghavan

AutonomytoanticorruptionagenciesininitiatingaPEorregularcasewillnotresultinmiscarriageofjusticebecausetheultimate
powerofsanctiontoprosecuteagovernmentofficialinacourtoflawrestswiththegovernment.Photo:K.R.DEEPAK

TheTamilNadugovernmentmusturgentlyrevisititsordermandatingpriorpermissiontoproceedwithacorruptioninquiryagainstany
Stateofficial
TheTamilNadugovernmentsorderdatedFebruary2,2016mandatingpriorpermissionofthegovernmentforaninquiryintocorruption
chargesagainstanyStateofficialisarudejolttothosefightingagainstthelackofintegrityinpublicadministration.Untilthisorder,
governmentapprovalforapreliminaryenquiry(PE)orregistrationofaregularcasewasrequiredonlyinrespectofAllIndiaServicesofficers
(IndianAdministrativeService,IndianPoliceServiceandIndianForestService).Employingstrangelogic,theStategovernmentordercitesa
SupremeCourtrulinginapublicinterestlitigationof1997,whichstruckdowntheSingleDirectiveoftheGovernmentofIndiathatdrewa
distinctionbetweenofficersofandabovetherankofJointSecretaryandtherestofthebureaucracy.Inthecaseoftheformer,thedirective
mandatedpriorCentralgovernmentpermissioneventoproceedwithaPEwhiletherewasnosuchrestrictionwithregardtothosebelowthe
JointSecretary.The1997rulinginterpretedtheSingleDirectiveasdiscriminatoryandviolativeofArticle14oftheConstitutionthatgrants
therighttoequalitybeforethelawandequalprotectionofthelawstoeverycitizen.
TherecentgovernmentorderreferstotheMadrasHighCourtrulingofOctober7,2015allowingtheStategovernmenttorevisitandevolvea
nondiscriminatorypolicywithregardtoinvestigationproceduresrelatingtocorruptioncharges.Thenewproceduremakesitobligatoryfor
acomplaintofcorruptionagainstanypublicservantirrespectiveofhisorherrankoftheStategovernmenttobevettedandsentfirstby
theVigilanceDirectoratetotheStateVigilanceCommission,which,inturn,willseekandconsidertheremarksofthegovernmentbefore

orderinganappropriateenquiry.
Asetbacktofightinggraft
Onthefaceofit,thegovernmentorderisunexceptionable.ItdoesnotdiscriminatebetweengroupsofStateemployeesongroundsofrank.
Thepointis,inrespectofCentralgovernmentemployees,theannullingoftheSingleDirective,firstin1997(theVineetNarainjudgment)and
againin2014(followingtheincorporationofthedirectiveintotheCentralVigilanceCommissionAct,2003)bytheSupremeCourt
strengthenedthehandsoftheCentralBureauofInvestigation(CBI)andothervigilanceagenciesingivingthemabsolutefreedomin
proceedingwithcomplaintsofcorruptionwithoutreferencetotheCentralgovernment.TheTamilNadugovernmentorderdoesexactlythe
opposite.ItemasculatesanalreadyweakVigilanceDirectorate.ThelatterdoesnotenjoyeventhelimitedautonomythattheCBIenjoys.
Apartfromdiminishingvigilancedrives,theneworderbrimswithpracticaldifficulties.Wearetalkinghereofaworkforceofmorethan
2,00,000people.IfthecomplaintagainstevensomeoneinthelowestrungineachdepartmentapoliceconstableoraGradeIVemployee
intheSecretariatorRevenueDepartment,forinstancehastobevettedatthreelevels,viz.theVigilanceDirectorate,VigilanceCommission
andthedepartmentconcerned,onemustreckonwiththeattendantdelayinitsprocessing.Thelossofconfidentialityofthecontentsofa
complaintandthedangerofdestructionofevidencetoprovemisconductareothersourcesofworry.Thesedangersarerealinanatmosphere
thatreeksofvenalityandallthatgoeswithit,includingtheintimidationofwhistleblowers.
Thegovernmentorderdoesnotalsomakeitclearastowhathappenswhenthereisdisagreementonthecourseofactioninrespectofa
complaintbetweenthethreeprincipalplayersinvolved.Whowillhavethefinalsay?Inmyview,theneworderofthingswillfurther
encouragethecorruptelementsingovernment.IwouldearnestlyappealtotheStategovernmenttorevisittheorder.Suchacourseof
actionwouldconsiderablyenhanceitscredibility.Aclinicalreexaminationoftheissuesshouldaimatintroducingthepositionthatnow
prevailsintheCentralgovernment.
AutonomytoanticorruptionagenciesininitiatingaPEorregularcasewillnotresultinmiscarriageofjusticebecausetheultimatepowerof
sanctiontoprosecuteagovernmentofficialinacourtoflawrestswiththegovernment.Thisprotectionagainstanyrecklessnessormaliceon
thepartoftheCBIorStateVigilanceorsimilaragenciesisnowsoughttobegiveneventoretiredgovernmentemployeesthroughan
amendmenttothePreventionofCorruptionAct(PCA),1988thathasbeenapprovedbytheUniongovernmentandisnowpendingbefore
Parliament.(Atpresent,aformerpublicservantcanbeprosecutedforcorruptionwithoutanysanctionfromthegovernment.)Whatshould
giveconfidencetobothCentralandStategovernmentsisthefactthattheSupremeCourthasnotdisputedtheircompetenceingrantingor
denyingsanctionrequestedbyaninvestigatingagency.Thecourthasmerelydemandedgreaterspeedinagovernmentdecisioninthis
regard.TheUniongovernmenthasbroughtinanamendmenttothePCAthatlaysdownathreemonthdeadlinetodecisions.Thisisalso
pendingParliamentsnod.
Bribesateverystep
Allthisisirrelevanttothefundamentaldebateovertherisingtideofcorruptioningovernment.Unchecked,weshouldveryshortlybeatthe
bottomofthelistthatTransparencyInternationalputsouteveryyear.(Asperthe2015ranking,weare76thoutof175countries.)The
commonmanisexercisedoverthefactthathehastopayapriceforeveryservicethatheisentitledtoasacitizen.Digitisationofgovernment
processeshashelpedtoanextentinmanyStates.Butthisisyettoreachanumberofareasofdiscretionwhichyieldthemselvestothe
demandandpaymentofbribe.Sanctionsforbuilding,registrationofproperty(bothacquisitionandsale)andcriminalinvestigationbythe
policeareallfetidprocessesthatcauseenormoushardshiptothepoorandrichalike.PolicestationsandSubRegistrarofficesaredreadedby
thecitizen,wherenothingworkswithoutgreasingsomeonespalm.Whatisofthegreatestconcernistherapidescalationofcorruptiontothe
higherechelonsofthebureaucracy,especiallytheAllIndiaServices.Whileministerialdishonestyisrealinmanyinstances,itdoesnotjustify
acivilservantbeingcomplicitinsuchgrossmisdeedorlininghisorherownpocketexploitingtherapaciousnessofaMinister.
Intheultimateanalysis,thebattleagainstgraftwillnecessarilyhavetogoonifwearetoholdourheadshighasanation.Forthistohappen
thereisaneedforbuildingthecitizenswillandresolvenottopayabribewhendemanded.Itisourreadinesstojumpthequeueandsecurea
serviceaheadofothersthroughtenderingspeedmoneytotherapaciousandshamelesspublicservantthatbreedscorruption.Itisequally
truethatnoonecanindividuallyhelpachieveacorruptionfreegovernmentwearefartoofamiliarwithtalesofintimidationandmurderof
individualswhohadtakenupthechallengeinthepast.Itisacollectivityalonethatcouldchallengeandtransformacorruptorder.
(R.K.RaghavanisaformerDirectoroftheCentralBureauofInvestigation.)
ApartfromemasculatinganalreadyweakVigilanceDirectorate,theTamilNadugovernmentorderbrimswith
practicaldifficulties
Printableversion|May25,201612:35:17PM|http://www.thehindu.com/todayspaper/tpopinion/anorderagainsttheantigraft
fight/article8212373.ece
TheHindu