Saturday, July 13, 2024

J-K Administration to Take Legal Action Against False Complaints Harassing Government Employees

Take legal action against those harassing govt employees with false complaints: J-K admin


Jammu, Jun 21: Taking a strong view of “widespread harassment” of government employees due to false complaints, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday issued a strong advisory recommending legal action against such people.

Government employees should pursue prosecution against individuals making false complaints under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Lieutenant Governor’s administration said.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police crime branch has been instructed to initiate criminal proceedings against those making false complaints, the General Administration Department (GAD) said in a circular issued on Friday.

The circular also recommended taking action against publications found guilty of such false complaints.

The government has identified 19 chronic offenders, including some former government employees, who have been making “fake and frivolous complaints” to harass and blackmail employees across nine government departments and organisations. Over the past six months, more than 7,000 complaints against have been verified as fake, according to the circular.

The circular also gave a detailed mechanism for redressal of complaints against government employees, which aims to balance good governance with safeguards for its employees against “false, frivolous, and anonymous complaints”.

The circular, issued by Commissioner/Secretary of the GAD, Sanjeev Verma, said that despite detailed provisions for lodging, handling, and verifying complaints, instances of undue harassment through false complaints are on the rise.

These baseless complaints, after verification, have often been found to lack merit, causing unwarranted harassment and mental agony for public servants, thereby affecting their decision-making and the overall administrative efficiency, it said.

Verma said that often these complaints, after verification, have been found devoid of any merit, and was disposed of accordingly.

“In the process, however, public servants discharging their bonafide duties, have to face unwarranted harassment and mental agony, affecting their decision-making, thereby causing administrative inertia, which inter-alia adversely affects disposal of government business and public service delivery,” the circular said.

To address this issue, the GAD has instructed all administrative departments, heads of departments, cadre-controlling authorities, and government employees to pursue prosecution under Section 182 of the IPC against individuals making false complaints.

As per Section 182, anyone who knowingly provides false information to a public servant with intent to cause harm or misuse power can be punished with imprisonment, a fine, or both, for up to six months.

The GAD called for the initiation of prosecution under Section 195(1)(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which deals with contempt of lawful authority of public servants and offences against public justice.

It also directed considering departmental action against employees who make false complaints as an alternative to prosecution.

Furthermore, it directed providing institutional support to government servants affected by false complaints, including assisting them in approaching the crime branch for criminal proceedings and facilitating civil lawsuits for damages.

The circular emphasised transparency through formal press notes on complaints and inquiries, ideally on a monthly basis.

It also advised conducting inquiries into cases involving publications and taking action if complicity is found, such as reporting to the Press Council of India (PCI), cancelling accreditation, and stopping government advertisements to the publication.

These measures aim to ensure that honest employees are not unfairly harassed and that government business and public service delivery are not adversely affected by baseless complaints, it said.–(PTI)

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