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SAC fights for its own survival
8/28/2018 12:02:39 AM

Ishtiyaq Ahmad
Early Times Report
SRINAGAR, Aug 27: Ever since the State Accountability Commission (SAC) was constituted in Jammu and Kashmir, it has faced many road blocks in its functioning, which has reduced its role of playing a premier anti-corruption watchdog agency.
The SAC was constituted in 2003 under provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Accountability Commission Act, 2002 and had powers to inquire into the grievances and allegations against public functionaries including chief minister, cabinet ministers, legislators and bureaucrats.
But, its chairpersons and members have always expressed their displeasure over government's intervention in its functioning resulting it has failed to bear any positive results over the years.
"There is no proper prosecuting wing, no separate investigating officers. The Commission has lost almost all the powers due to multiple amendments in Jammu and Kashmir Accountability Commission Act, 2002," an official said.
Since 2015, the official said that SAC has not received a single complaint against any politician.
Since 2015, he said that SAC had submitted several recommendations to the government. "The government has been totally indifferent towards the Commission. Government is not even considering our proposals to make it effective instrument of good governance, accountable, and transparent administration," he regrets.
When the SAC was constituted in 2003, its role was envisaged to undo the damage done to the institutions by rampant corruption in the state. Under the purview of its mandate, the office of the chief minister, cabinet ministers, legislators, and bureaucrats, was open for investigations, if there be a complaint of wrongdoing against any of them.
The state government amended the Act in 2011 and restricted the jurisdiction of the SAC to investigating cases of corruption against political executive (public functionaries) like the chief minister, deputy chief minister, the presiding officers of the state legislature, ministers, advisors including advisors to the chief minister, the members of the state legislature and persons holding the status of a minister. The cases against public servants (administration) were kept in the jurisdiction of vigilance organization. The amendments according to official has reduced it to ineffective.
"We have been receiving small grievances from people. We forward them to concerned authorities for the redress that is not main function of the SAC."
Giving several reasons what he believes that people were not coming forward with complaints, he said, "People are shirking to come with complaints as they think they may not get worthwhile results while approaching the Commission. People do not want to fight with politicians. There is also a provision in the law that if somebody lodges frivolous complaint he may face the punishment. For lodging a complaint against chief minister or minister, one has to be supported with proof," he added.
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