Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh government has come under scrutiny with High Court questioning the rationale of appointing officers caught red handed accepting bribes in sensitive posts. The Himachal Pradesh High Court today asked the government to clarify its stand on the postings of tainted officials occupying crucial posts.
Taking note of officers of doubtful integrity being placed in sensitive posts by the government, a division bench of Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice V.K. Sharma asked the chief secretary to file an affidavit.
‘The chief secretary is to state as to whether posting of such officers of doubtful integrity and particularly those officers who have actually been found guilty and whose cases are still under investigation or are facing the trial and yet are posted on sensitive posts,’ the judges said in a ruling today.
The court also directed the government to inform as to how many officers who have been caught red-handed accepting bribe and were yet reinstated in service and posted in sensitive posts.
The court observed that the government, in its affidavit, had said that it was committed to zero tolerance on corruption. However, it asked the government whether it’s required or at least advisable to have clearance of the vigilance bureau at the time of review/revocation of suspension of officers involved in corruption.
The Director General of Police, who had filed an affidavit on the direction of the High Court earlier indicated that the Government does not seek the opinion of vigilance before considering the cases for revocation of suspension of officers involved in the cases of corruption, which are pending investigation or trial.
The court directed the Chief Secretary to state as to whether there is any direction from the Government of India to set up a Vigilance Commission.
“And whether the state of Himachal Pradesh has taken any action in the matter so that transparency and probity in vigilance cases can be more effectively ensured. The Chief Secretary will also indicate in the affidavit whether such a Commission has been set up in other states,’’ the Court observed
A senior official of the vigilance and anti-corruption bureau saidd that it had registered 271 cases against government officials and functionaries from January 2008 to Jan 31, 2010. Charge sheets have been filed in various courts against 65 people and seven have been convicted during this period, he added.