Govt showcases SAC but doesn’t have staff for it
Law Secretary sleeping over repeated requisitions; all key posts vacant
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SAC was created in 2003 after Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s PDP-Congress coalition government made a legislation with the support of then principal opposition party National Conference in 2002. It took Mufti’s government nearly two years to appoint SAC’s first Chairman in 2005. However, within a year, Justice RP Sethi tendered his resignation due to a host of reasons. Later, two of its members---G L Raina and Mohammad Muzaffar Jan--- conducted some business but the Commission became fully non-functional with the retirement of its last member, namely Justice (retd) Muzaffar Jan, in 2008-09.
After over two years of suspended animation, SAC got a fresh lease of life when Omar Abdullah’s government recommended Justice (retd) Yash Pal Nargotra as Chairman and Justice (retd) Hakeem Imtiyaz Hussain as its Member on July 30, 2011. Governor accordingly issued the warrants of appointment on August 12, 2011. Both the appointees were sworn in amid fanfare by the coalition government on August 21. In the last nearly two months, SAC has been making repeated requisitions to the state Law Secretary, Ghulam Hassan Tantray, for appointment of staff on key positions but none of the communications has yielded anything.
A private building, hired for the SAC’s summer headquarters, in Sonwar area is being demanded back by its owner. Chairman and Member have got the eviction deferred by personal obligation. Their requests of establishing the headquarters at the old Legislature Complex, where J&K State Information Commission (SIC) has recently set up office, have also been ignored by the state government. Even the vital infrastructure, like computers, furniture and vehicles, has not been provided.
SAC has formally communicated to the Law Department that almost all of its key positions were lying vacant and the posts of Secretary, Deputy Secretary and Assistant Registrar were manned by “ineligible persons drawn from Law Department”. It has pointed out that it needed eligible incumbents, particularly from judiciary and J&K Police. There has been no action by the state government.
Presently, a Special Secretary from Legal Service of the state government is working as Secretary and a Deputy Secretary from Legal Service as Deputy Secretary of SAC. Besides, there is an Assistant Registrar from Law Department in
. Three Junior Assistants have been hired from offices of Public Prosecutors. One female computer operator, engaged by a Deputy Commissioner on contract basis and eight Orderlies, four each in Kashmir and Jammu , are also manning positions at SAC. Authorities at SAC insist that none of these was holding a substantive post as an eligible incumbent. Jammu
While the substantive posts of Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Principal Secretary to Chairman, as also both posts of Deputy Registrar and both posts of Public Prosecutor are lying vacant, SAC does not have any official on the post of Financial Advisor cum Chief Accounts Officer. It does not end there. The Commission does not have an individual for one post of
, both posts of Stenographer and one-odd post of Section Officer. Besides, all four posts of Judgment Writer, all four posts of Computer Operator, both posts of Senior Assistant and both posts of Head Assistant are also lying unmanned. PA-cum-Stenographer
Under the J&K State Accountability Commission Act, Government of Jammu & Kashmir is supposed to create an independent investigation agency for verification of complaints and inquiry and investigation of the matters brought before the SAC. A senior IPS officer of the rank of Additional DGP has to head the investigation agency with two DIGs to head it at Provincial level in Kashmir and
. It also needs two SSPs, two Dy SPs, four Inspectors, four Sub Inspectors and other subordinate staff. Not a single official has been provided to it by the state Home Department/ Police Headquarters. Jammu
Informed sources revealed to Early Times that after failing to get any substantive response from Law Secretary Tantray in the last two months, SAC has now taken up the matter directly with Chief Minister’s Office. Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Bharat Bhushan Vyas, is understood to have assured the Commission that necessary staff and infrastructure would be provided to it “within a few days”. Sources said that Mr Vyas, as well as DGP, Mr Kuldeep Khoda, were called to the SAC headquarters and made aware of the “extreme steps” the Commission could take by law.
The Commission has separately taken up the matter with Registrar General of J&K High Court. Both, DGP as well as J&K High Court authorities, have reportedly made it clear that the eligible staff would be provided as soon as a formal requisition would be received from Law Department.
Minister incharge Law & Parliamentary Affairs, Ali Mohammad Sagar, did not respond to phone calls when efforts were made to seek his comment and learn as to why the state Government had not provided staff and infrastructure to SAC.