Jammu and Kashmir: Govt can now sack IAS, IPS officers accused of anti-national activity without inquiry

  • | Wednesday | 5th August, 2020

A government official in Jammu and Kashmir can now be sacked without an inquiry if found guilty of engaging in “anti-national” activity. One year after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has constituted a six-member committee, headed by J&K Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, to look into cases related to government officials allegedly indulging in anti-national activities.

Srinagar: A government official in Jammu and Kashmir can now be sacked without an inquiry if found guilty of engaging in “anti-national” activity. One year after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has constituted a six-member committee, headed by J&K Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, to look into cases related to government officials allegedly indulging in anti-national activities.

The high-level committee has been empowered to scrutinise cases and recommend action against those officials involved in anti-national activities under Article 311(2)(c). Experts say any government official, including IAS and IPS officers, if found guilty by the committee for “anti-national” activity can be dismissed from service without an inquiry.

The J&K government, in its order which was released last week, has explained the procedure for invoking Article 311(2)(c). “The cases shall be referred by the administrative departments or police organisation to the Home Department. On receipt of such report, the Home Department shall examine the case and upon satisfaction that the case meets the requirements of Article 311(2)(c), it shall place the case before the committee. The recommendations in respect of such cases shall be supported by relevant records which may include a copy of the interrogation report and other collateral evidence to justify dispensing with the holding of an inquiry in the interest of security of the state," the order read.

“The Home department shall place each case along with the recommendations of ADG, CID, J&K before the committee. Recommendations of the committee shall be processed by the Administrative Secretary, Home department for orders of the competent authority in terms of Article 311(2)(c) of the Constitution of India. Orders of dismissal shall be issued by the General Administration department after the approval of the competent authority," the order added.

HIGH-LEVEL COMMITTEE

Apart from the J&K Chief Secretary, the others members of the high-level committee include administrative secretary of the Home department, J&K DGP, administrative secretary of the General Administration Department, Additional DGP, CID and administrative secretary of the Department Of Law, Justice.

WHAT IS ARTICLE 311(2)(c):

Gives constitutional protection to civil servants when govt initiates process of their dismissal, removal or reduction in rank. Probe is held and civil servants are given opportunity to present their case

Sub article (2)(c) of Article 311 is an exception to the procedural safeguards that civil servants enjoy

Govt can dismiss an official without holding a probe if the matter relates to security of the state

Such decisions are taken on the basis of the recommendations given by govt constituted committees under Article 311(2)(c)

WHAT LEGAL EXPERTS SAY

According to legal experts, under Article 311(2)(c), no probe is required to take action against officials involved in anti-national activities. “Article 311 provides constitutional protection to members of the civil service through certain procedural safeguards when the government initiates process of their dismissal, removal or reduction in rank. An inquiry is held and the official is given an opportunity of being heard,” Ankur Sharma, advocate, J&K High Court said while speaking to India Today over the phone. "However, sub Article (2)(c) of Article 311 is an exception to these procedural safeguards. When the person is being dismissed or removed etc in the interest of the security of the state, then he can be dismissed directly without a probe. Under Article 311(2)(c), a committee has been formed. The Lt Governor of J&K can take action against errant officers on the recommendations of the committee,” Ankur Sharm added.

Meanwhile, reports are doing the rounds that many government officers are under the scanner in Jammu and Kashmir for their involvement in anti-national activities.

BJP WELCOMES DECISION

The BJP has welcomed the administration’s decision to invoke Article 311(2)(c) in J&K. “The message is loud and clear from the Modi government that no anti-national rhetoric, especially by the government employees shall be tolerated at any cost. We appreciate the decision taken by the J&K administration,” Ranbir Singh Pathania, J&K BJP spokesperson said while speaking to India Today over the phone.



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