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Friday, February 26, 2021

Lokayukta slams Haryana govt for failing to adopt zero tolerance against graft, inefficiency

Various departments including Urban Local Bodies, Police, Town and Country Planning etc have been castigated by the Lokayukta in its observations clearly indicating that the state government lacks in ensuring a corruption-free governance.

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Chandigarh |
Updated: February 12, 2021 9:12:09 am
Haryana LokayuktaHaryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. (File Photo)

The Haryana Lokayukta has pulled up the state government and its various departments for failing to ensure a “zero tolerance approach against corruption”, “inefficiency and maladministration,” and inaction against the “delinquent public servants”, asking government agencies to change their mindset and attitude.

“In order to achieve total transparency and fairness in the administration it is necessary that the public servants found guilty of corruption or maladministration should be awarded strictest possible punishment under the law. For this purpose, it is necessary that the government agencies change their mind set and attitude by adopting zero tolerance to corruption, inefficiency and maladministration”, Lokayukta Justice NK Agarwal (retd) said while asking the government to ensure strict compliance of the provisions of Haryana Lokayukta Act, 2002.

The scathing observations came to light in a letter issued by the office of Haryana Chief Secretary to all the administrative secretaries, heads of departments, divisional commissioners of five ranges (Ambala, Gurugram, Rohtak, Faridabad and Karnal), Registrar, Punjab and Haryana High Court, all deputy commissioners, and registrars of all the universities of the state.

Various departments including Urban Local Bodies, Police, Town and Country Planning etc have been castigated by the Lokayukta in its observations clearly indicating that the state government lacks in ensuring a corruption-free governance.

Talking about the police department and recommending stern action against delinquent officers, the Lokayukta’s observations read, “…when complaint is made to the concerned police station, fair inquiry is not being made by the police department. Such lapses…should be viewed seriously and stern action should be taken against such police officials which would go long way in improving the image of the state police”.

Highlighting the haphazard growth and encroachments in Gurugram and Faridabad, the Lokayukta said, “It has also been observed that in the cities, which are adjoining to the National Capital Territory of New Delhi like Gurugram and Faridabad, the development is in a very haphazard manner. So, for smooth development in these cities and for taking effective steps for removal of encroachments, the local authorities functioning there should be given adequate staff and effective steps be taken for initiating civil as well as criminal action against the encroachers. Encroachment is a very serious issue, which is not being properly dealt. Prompt action is not being taken against the public servants including the sarpanches before completion of their tenure”.

The Lokayukta also slammed the state government for not ensuring necessary compliance on the references sent from his office.

“I am further directed to request you that whenever a reference/ observation is received from the Hon’ble Lokayukta for conducting enquiry or wherever necessary action is required to be taken, the same should be taken promptly as per government instructions in this regard. The receipt of reference/ observation from the Hon’ble Lokayukta should always be acknowledged and if due to some administrative or any other unavoidable reasons, it is not possible to take action or to submit requisite information within the stipulated period, then the Hon’ble Lokayukta may be informed well in time. These instructions may please be brought to the notice of all your concerned officers and those of all Boards/ Corporations/ Institutions under your administrative control for strict compliance”, the letter issued to the state government by Lokayukta’s office read.

Expressing anguish on inaction on part of the state government’s various departments, it added, “During the course of enquiry and investigation held by the institution of Lokayukta, it has been specifically observed that as and when any complaint is forwarded to the head of the government department for enquiry or reply thereon giving the time of 45 days, the action is not taken within stipulated time…in spite of serious allegations and grievances in the complaints initially raised by the common man before the high ups…. If such complaints are properly heard and appreciated with sensitivity at their level, the same can be redressed there and then at their own end. This kind of attitude of good governance, if adopted, would go a long way saving the time and money of the public at large as well as of institution of Lokayukta”.

It adds, “Lokayukta had recommended for providing a transparent and corruption free administration to the public. The common man has been given the right to approach the Lokayukta by way of filing complaints under Section 10 and projecting grievances against denial of any right or maladministration or inaction on the part of any public servant. Recommendations are made to the Competent Authority for action against the public servant, if so warranted, from the facts and circumstances of the case. Section 16 of the Haryana Lokayukta Act, 2002, provides for punishment to a person who wilfully or maliciously makes any false complaint under the Act. This is to ensure that no public servant is maligned or involved in a false complaint”.

Section 17(2) of the Haryana Lokayukta Act, 2002, envisages that the competent authority is required to examine the reports and intimate action taken to Lokayukta within three months. “It has been observed that, in most of the complaints, action taken reports are not being sent by the departments concerned within the stipulated period as required under the Act”, the Lokayukta’s observations mention.

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