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Saturday, October 23, 2021

‘Arbitrary and dictatorial’: Parties slam J&K administration’s ‘discrete verification’ order

The order states that “association or sympathy” with persons who are attempting to commit such offences or are involved in “aiding or abetting or advocating” these activities, can put the employee at the risk of losing verification and even his or her job.

Written by Naveed Iqbal | Srinagar |
Updated: September 18, 2021 12:27:52 pm
The latest order follows a recent circular that mandates J&K government employees to secure a vigilance clearance to obtain a passport. (Representational Photo)

The Jammu and Kashmir administration’s order setting wide-ranging parameters for “discrete verification” of government employees, including reporting of relatives whose activities may be “directly or indirectly hostile to India’s national and security interests”, has been heavily criticised by many with political parties demanding a roll-back of the diktat.

The Farooq Abdullah-led National Conference (NC) called the order “arbitrary and dictatorial”, stating that the government is making “yet another set of arbitrary decisions that undermine the perception of natural justice, and basic human rights”.

Apart from concerns of national security, the directive, issued by the General Administration Department of the J&K administration, also notes that “association or sympathy” with persons who are attempting to commit such offences or are involved in “aiding or abetting or advocating” these activities, can put the employee at the risk of losing verification which could subsequently lead to termination of services.

The order also instructs administrative departments to keep in mind the “involvement of an individual’s immediate family, persons sharing residential space with the employee to whom he or she may be bound by affection, influence, or obligation or involved in any of the acts, directly or indirectly”.

In a statement, NC said that the new set of rules infringe upon the fundamental rights of employees, who, as per the new rules, are liable for punishment if they fail to report their relative’s offences, if any. “Why should an employee pay for someone else’s crime? Similarly denying passports to employees based on vigilance cases cannot be a substitute for being proven guilty by the court of law. The latest rules have blurred the distinction between executive and judiciary,” the statement read.

The People’s Conference questioned the legality of the order, stating that it is an effort to “hound” government employees. “In a legal jurisprudence, a person is liable and responsible only for his own sins and actions. One cannot be held responsible for someone else’s actions unless he is complicit, conniving or conspiring with him,” the party said.

Thursday’s diktat, the party added, “is a flagrant infringement of the fundamental rights of citizens and a violation of Right to Freedom guaranteed by Article 20 of the Indian Constitution”.

CPIM leader M Y Tarigami asked the government to reconsider such orders. Stating that there are procedures laid down to take action against any employee involved in anti-national or subversive activities, issuing new orders every now and then only creates an atmosphere of suspicion.

“It seems, because of some ill advice, the J & K administration is resorting to such an unwarranted course and targeting its employees and thereby putting them under constant fear. If an employee is violating the law, he must be dealt with according to the already laid down procedures. But this type of an arbitrary approach is not good in a democracy,” Tarigami said.

The order came after a circular mandated government employees of J&K to secure a vigilance clearance to obtain a passport. In April this year, the J&K administration set up a Special Task Force to initiate action against government employees suspected of activities against “security of the State”. The task force was created under provisions of Article 311(2) (C) of the Constitution that allows the dismissal of an employee without an inquiry on grounds of security of the state.

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