Government of India
Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions
(Department of Personnel and Training)
North Block, New Delhi.
01st December, 2011
Subject: Official dealings between the Administration and Members of Parliament and State Legislatures — Observance of proper procedure.
1. The Members of Parliament and State Legislatures as the accredited representatives of the people occupy a very Important place in our democratic set-up. In connection with their duties, they often find it necessary to seek information from the Ministries/Departments of the Government of India or the State Governments, or make suggestions for their consideration or ask for interviews with the officers. Certain well-recognized principles and conventions to govern the relations between the Members of Parliament / State Legislatures and Government servants have already been established.
2. Reference is Invited to the guidelines concerning the official dealings between Administration and Members of Parliament and State Legislatures which were issued by the Cabinet Secretariat (Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, in the OM. No 25/19/64-Estt. (A) dated 08.11.1974). The importance of adherence to these guidelines was reiterated in the Department of Personnel and Training’s OM. No. 11013/6 2005-Estt. (A)dated 17.08.2007. The provisions of the Central Secretariat Manual of Office Procedure regarding prompt disposal of communications from MPs have also been reiterated by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances. The Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions has also written to all Ministers In this regard vide D.O letter dated 5th May, 2011, requesting that a mechanism may be set up to periodically monitor progress in disposal of references received from Members of Parliament.
3. Some instances of non-adherence to the existing guidelines have been brought to Government’s attention by Members of Parliament and a need has been felt for again sensitizing all administrative authorities concerned.
4. The Central Secretariat Manual of Office Procedure provides following instructions for prompt disposal of letters from Members of Parliament:
Correspondence with Members of Parliament-(I)
(1) Communications received from a Member of Parliament should be attended to promptly.
(2) Where a communication is addressed to a Minister or a Secretary to the Government, it should, as far as practicable, be replied to by the Minister or the Secretary himself as the case may be. Where it is not practicable for the Minister to reply, a reply should normally be issued under the signature of an officer of the rank of Secretary to the Government.
(3) Where a communication is addressed to the head of an attached or subordinate office, Public Sector Undertakings, Financial Institutions (including nationalized banks) Division/Branch in charge in a Ministry/Department/Organization, it should be replied to by the addressee himself. In such cases, care may be taken to ensure that wherever policy issues are involved, approval of the competent authority is obtained before a reply is sent. It should, however, be ensured that the minimum level at which such replies are sent to Member of Parliament is that of Under Secretary and that also in a polite letter form only.
(4)Information sought by a Member of Parliament should be supplied unless it is of such a nature that it would have been denied to him, if similar information had been sought in Parliament.
(5)While corresponding with Members of Parliament, it should be ensured that the letter is legible. Pre-printed or cyclostyled replies should be scrupulously avoided.
(6) In case a reference from an ex-member of Parliament is addressed to a Minister or Secretary, reply to such reference may be sent by the concerned Divisional Head after obtaining approval of the Secretary of Ministry/Department.
In case the reference is addressed to a lower level officer, reply to such reference could be sent by the officer on his own in non-policy cases and after obtaining approval of the higher authorities in policy cases. Here also, it may be ensured that the minimum level at which a reply is sent is that of an Under Secretary and that too in a polite letter form only.
Prompt response to letters received –
(1) Each communication received from the Member of Parliament, a member of the public, a recognized association or a public body will be acknowledged within 15 days, followed by a reply within the next 15 days of acknowledgement sent.
(2) Where a delay is anticipated in sending a final reply, or where the information has to be obtained from another Ministry or another office, an interim reply may be sent within a month (from the date of receipt of the communication) indicating the possible date by which a final reply can be given.
(3) If any such communication is wrongly addressed to a department, it should be transferred promptly (within a week) to the appropriate department under intimation to the party concerned.
5. The aforesaid guidelines also cover Official dealings between Administration and Members of Parliament /State Legislatures. In this context, attention is also invited to Rule 3(2A) of All India Service (Conduct) Rule, 1968 and Rule 3-A of Central Civil Service (Conduct) Rules, 1964 which provide as follows:-
Every member of the service shall in the discharge of his duties act in a courteous manner and shall not adopt dilatory tactics in his dealings with the public or otherwise.
The existing instructions are hereby appropriately strengthened to emphasize the basic principles to be borne in mind by the Government servants while interacting with the Members of Parliament and State Legislatures. These are as follows :-
(i) Government servants should show courtesy and consideration to Members of Parliament and State Legislatures;
(ii) while the Government servants should consider carefully or listen patiently to what the Members of Parliament and of the State Legislatures may have to say, the Government servant should always act according to his own best judgment and as per the rules;
(iii) Any deviation from an appointment made with a Member of Parliament/State Legislature must be promptly explained to him to avoid any possible inconvenience. Fresh appointment should be fixed in consultation with him;
(iv) An officer should be meticulously correct and courteous and rise to receive and see off a Member of Parliament/State Legislature visiting him. Arrangements may be made to receive the Members of Parliament when, after taking prior appointment, they visit the officer of the Government of India, State Government or local Government. Arrangements may also be made to permit entry of vehicles of the Members to these Offices subject to security requirements/restrictions;
(v) Members of Parliament of the area should invariably be invited to public functions organized by a Government office. Proper and comfortable seating arrangements at public functions and proper order of seating on the dais should be made for Members keeping in view the fact that they appear above officers of the rank of Secretaries to Government of India in the Warrant of Precedence; The invitation cards and media events, if organized for the function held in the constituency, may include the names of the Members of that constituency who have confirmed participation in these functions.
It is clarified that If a constituency of any Member of Parliament is spread over more than one District, the M.P should invariably be invited to all the functions held in any of the Districts which are part of his/her constituency;
(vi) Where any meeting convened by the Government is to be attended by Members of Parliament, special care should be taken to see that notice is given to them in good time regarding the date, time, venue etc. of the meeting. It should also be ensured that there is no slip in any matter of detail, however minor it may be. It should especially be ensured that:–
(a) intimations regarding public meetings/functions are sent through speedier communication devices to the M.Ps, so that they reach them well in time, and
(b) that receipt of intimation by the M.P is confirmed by the officer/official concerned;
(vii) Letters from Members of Parliament and Members of State Legislatures must be promptly acknowledged, and a reply sent at an appropriate level expeditiously as per the relevant provisions of the Central Secretariat Manual of Office Procedure;
(viii) Information or statistics relating to matters of local importance must be furnished to the MPs and MLAs when asked for. The information so supplied should be specific and answer the points raised. A soft copy of the information should also be sent to the Member via e-mail;
(ix) If the information sought by a Member of Parliament cannot be given and is to be refused, instructions from a higher authority should be taken and the reasons for not furnishing the information should be given in the reply;
(x) Wherever any letter from a Member of Parliament is in English and the reply is required to be given in Hindi in terms of the Official Languages Act, 1963 and the rules framed there under, an English translation should also be sent along with the reply for the convenience of such Members of Parliament from non Hindi speaking areas;
(xi) References from the Committees of Parliament must be attended to promptly;
(xii) The officers should not ignore telephonic messages left for them by the Members of Parliament/State Legislatures in their absence and should try to contact at the earliest the Member of Parliament/State Legislature concerned. These instructions also include SMS and e-mails received on official mobile telephones which also should be replied to promptly and on priority;
(xiii) All Ministries/Departments may ensure that the powers of Members of Parliament/State Legislatures as Chairpersons/ Members of committees under various Centrally Sponsored/Central Sector government schemes are clearly and adequately defined; and
(xiv) A Government servant should not approach MPs/MLAs for sponsoring his individual case as bringing or attempting to bring political or non-official or other outside influence is prohibited under the conduct Rules e.g. Rule 18 of the All India Service (Conduct) Rules, 1968 and Rule 20 of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules.
Joint Secretary to the Government of India
All the Ministries/Departments of Government of India Copy to:-
Copy also to:
Chief Secretaries of all States / UTs with a request to circulate these instructions to all State Government officials at the State/Division and District levels and to periodically review implementation.
Joint Secretary to the Government of India