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news details
Senior officials conceal info about property
Govt issues notices without action
11/13/2017 11:03:11 PM

Early Times Report

SRINAGAR, Nov 13: Throwing government directives to the wind, thousands of senior officials are not submitted their property details to the government with authorities watching as mere spectators.
The government has issued notifications several times asking officials to submit their property details or face action. However, nothing such is being implemented.
When one have a cursory look, it is being found how the officials are ignoring all these warnings.
Take an example of Public Health Engineering and Irrigation and Flood Control (PHE, I&FC) Department where around 1000 senior officials have not submitted their Annual Property Returns (APRs) in the last, at least, five years.
An order issued by the department said that 984 officers including several ex-Chief Engineers had yet to submit their APRs since the financial year 2012-13.
The order had asked the officers to furnish the returns within 15 days "failing which appropriate action under rules shall be taken against the defaulters".
"…It was decided that the APRs for the last five years may be urgently obtained from all the officers," reads the order.
The defaulters are liable to be prosecuted. Necessary action could be taken against them as per law. However, sources said these officials have failed to submit these details.
Similarly, sources said a large number of senior officials have failed to submit APRs in Rural Development Department, Health, Social Welfare, Power Development Department, and Housing and Urban Development Department. "The government is only issuing notices without acting against them. The officials are not taking directives seriously," an official of the General Administration Department, said.
The Jammu and Kashmir Public Men and Public Servants Declaration of Assets and other Provisions Act, 1983, lays down that it shall be incumbent on part of every public servant to submit the annual returns of the assets held by him and his family members in the months of January every year.
The increase in the assets of the public servant and the source thereof shall also be indicated as per the Act.
In case of non-submission of the APRs by the public servants, rules made under the act have a provision for even imposing penalty on the defaulters.
"…If any public servant without any reasonable cause, which he shall be required to show, fails to submit the return annually, he shall be guilty of committing criminal misconduct…," read the rules.
"After considering the reply, if any, tendered by the public servant, the prescribed authority may, if cause shown is found justified, allow such public servant to file his returns within a period of seven days or proceed against him under section 11 of the Act in case the cause shown is found unjustified."
Similarly, a large number of KAS officers have failed to submitt the annual property details of 2016 to the government. Those, who have submitted most of seem have been hiding the details of their assets either not divulging property details to the government or showing undervalued property value.
Several officers have mentioned that they don't know the value of their assets.
"Property value not assessed," several officers have mentioned in the affidavits of property returns.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the disclosure of property assets of state administrative officers was an effort to curb corruption and increase transparency in governance.
In terms of sub-section (2) of section 9 of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Men and Public Servants Declaration of Assets and other Provisions Act, 1983, every public servant shall submit to the prescribed authority annual returns of the assets held by official and his/her family members in the month of January every year.
They are also required to indicate the reasons for increase, if any, in the assets and source as per Act. The Act and rules provide for imposing a penalty for non-submission of the property returns.
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