HC seeks govt.’s response to making officials accountable

A committee had made recommendations to ensure a corruption-free, transparent administration

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has asked the State government to come out with a positive response to the effective implementation of a government order (G.O.), issued a decade ago, with regard to ensuring accountability from every government servant at every stage and level, as recommended by the Administrative Reforms Committee.

A Division Bench of Justices N. Kirubakaran and B. Pugalendhi observed that the committee, under the chairmanship of former Madras High Court judge A.K. Rajan, had made certain recommendations to ensure a corruption-free and transparent administration.

The recommendations were also accepted by the government.

While accepting them, the government had requested all heads of departments to issue necessary orders to this effect, while delegating powers. Even though the G.O. was passed in 2010, none of the departments had taken any effective step to implement it, the judges said.

“Every government servant is expected to act in accordance with the Acts, the rules and the G.O.s issued by the government, then and there. If Secretary-level officers have not complied with the orders of the government, how can we expect a common citizen to comply with such orders?” the court asked.

Further, the judges observed that if a government servant was not complying with the orders of the government, the same could be treated as misconduct or unbecoming of the government servant, warranting initiation of appropriate departmental proceedings against them.

‘Law excuses no one’

Ignorantia legis neminem excusat, meaning, ignorance of law excuses no one — even a common man cannot plead that he is ignorant of the law. Unless the government comes out with an Act or rule on these recommendations, any circular or instruction issued in this regard will remain on paper alone, without effective implementation,” they said.

“This court expects a positive response from the State government on the possibility of amending existing relevant Government Service Rules, for the effective implementation of the G.O.,” the judges said, seeking a response from the State on December 22.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation petition filed in this regard.

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