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Will Mufti revive SAC, bring life in SVC?
3/5/2015 11:06:45 PM
Syed Junaid Hashmi
Early Times Report
JAMMU, Mar 5: With Mufti Mohammed Sayeed in power, will State Accountability Commission (SAC) and State Vigilance Commission (SVC) get empowered or remain toothless tigers is one big question being asked all over the state ranked number 2 in corruption after Bihar?
The two commissions remained virtually disfunctional during last six years. Cases lodged in both the commissions failed to make any impact on the administrative systems of the state and thus, not much changed for the common man. Those who knocked at the doors of State Accountability Commission (SAC) had to return disappointed since accused got stay from the state high court.
Records bear testimony to the fact that a number of cases were dismissed since the allegations were purportedly found wrong during the preliminary findings. On the other hand, State Vigilance Commission (SVC) failed to make an impact despite having three top officers from Police, Civil and Judicial services heading it. Apart from one Roshni land scam which too came to the limelight due to the audit findings of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, SVC failed to make any substantial contribution in checking corruption in the state.
State government gave assent to the act on December 13, 2002 and was subsequently published in the government gazette on December 16, 2002. Act was enforced vide notification SRO-17 dated 21-01-2003 w.e.f 25-01-2003. However, SAC was constituted two years later in the year 2005 when Justice R.P.Sethi was appointed as its first Chairman on June 2, 2005. This was followed by amendments in the act and two more judges were appointed.
Justice G.L.Raina, former Additional Judge of the High Court and Justice Muzaffar Jan, former Judge of the same High Court were appointed as its members on March 31, 2006. This led to Justice Sethi resigning as Chairperson of the commission on May 3, 2006. The two members who kept the commission functional retired on June 19, 2008 and April 15, 2009. Thereafter, Commission remained non-functional. Finally, Justice Y.P.Nargotra was appointed as Chairperson and Justice Hakim Imtiaz Hussain as member on August 16, 2011. Both were former Judges of the High Court. They were administered oath of office on August 21, 2011.
They too served the commission for three years and both demitted office on August 21, 2014. The commission remains headless since then. NC-Congress coalition government took no interest in reviving this virtually toothless commission and infact; act was further amended by excluding government servants from purview of the act. This further weakened the commission, leaving it with cases of MLAs, MLCs and ministers which could not be probed because of the high court stay. 282 cases against bureaucrats were transferred to State Vigilance Commission (SVC).
SVC was constituted vide SRO No. 59 Dated 15-02-2011 in reference to sub-section 1 of Section 3 of the Jammu and Kashmir State Vigilance Commission Act-2011. Government appointed Kuldeep Khoda, IPS (Retd.) as Chief Vigilance Commissioner vide SRO No. 48 Dated 11-02-2013, R.K.Jerath, IAS (Retd.) as Vigilance Commissioner vide SRO No. 49 Dated 11-02-2013 and Gou-sul-Nisa Jeelani, Principal District and Sessions Judge (Retd.) as Vigilance Commissioner vide SRO 353 Dated 01-08-2013 respectively. Commission made some initial moves but later went into complete silence.
Ex-DGP Kuldeep Khoda and his team also made no difference to the set-up in which Kewal Krishan Sharma, PRO of Ex-Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand virtually hijacked entire administrative set-up due to the extraordinary powers which he enjoyed. Such was the height of administrative failure that an inquiry was ordered into the conduct of a fourth class employee by District Administration despite mounting evidence against him. SVO despite having mandate to check misuse of powers by state government employees working on various positions neither took cognizance of the newspaper reports nor initiated action on its own.
With Mufti Mohammed Sayeed back in power, critics would keep an eye on how he brings life back into SAC and SVC. SAC was creation of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed. The institution had come up with the sole intent of fighting corruption at the highest places. But despite being 11 year old, the institution failed to penalise or put even one politician behind the bars. Despite mounting evidence, accused not only enjoyed top political and administrative positions but retired peacefully and are now contemplating to join political outfits which are now in power.
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