Government Officials should follow Service Rules, be honest & modest, maintain integrity & high character & should not take undesirable favours from outsiders else liable to Dismissal
It is a common practice that Public officials from Revenue Department, District Administration or the District Judiciary either ask for their personal errands from assessees, litigants, applicants or advocates/ CAs. However, as per model code of conduct, this is impermissible and should not be resorted to as the opposite party or anyone displeased with him might bring it to the notice of the high ups and the concerned person may land into difficulty. This is particularly true in the present times of judicial activism and media trials.
One such startling incident happened when the District Judge of Dehradun used a private car while travelling from Dehradun to Mussoorie to attend a camp Court. Incidentally, the car belonged to a person against whom an FIR was registered and his matter was ‘sub judice’. Recently on 23 Dec 2020, the High Court of Uttarakhand took cognizance of the matter and have instituted Disciplinary action against the said District Judge and placed him under suspension. It is pertinent that as per service rules, the District Judge was supposed to use only his official vehicle to attend the camp Court at Mussoorie but he travelled from Dehradun in a private Audi car. The owner of the said Audi car had been booked u/s 420, 467, 468, 471 & 120-B of the IPC and a writ petition (criminal) is pending before the Uttarakhand High Court.
The High Court treated this act of the District Judge as grave misconduct and in violation of Rule 3(1), 3(2), & Rule 30 of the Uttarakhand Government Servants’ Conduct Rules, 2002 not becoming of a senior Judicial Officer and smelling of disintegrity.
It is worthwhile to mention that very recently 3 judicial officers from Bihar, who were caught at a Nepal hotel with women in 2013, have been dismissed from service by the Patna High Court. Their dismissal has been effective from February 12, 2014. They will not be eligible to get their salaries, any kind of allowances or pensions. The case had come to light in January 2014, when a Nepali newspaper ‘Udgosh’ reported the incident. The District Judge gave a report that the said 3 judges were in India and not in Nepal on the said dates.
Dissatisfied with the said report, the matter was further investigated. An agency of the Ministry of Home Affairs tracked the mobile phone history of the accused judges and found that their phones had been switched off on January 26-27, 2013, and when it became active again it was traced somewhere near Nepal’s Forbesganj town, indicating that the three were in Nepal and not in India as claimed by them.
The Patna HC passed orders recommending their dismissal but the Supreme Court had in 2015 stayed the proceedings against them restraining the State Government from acting on the recommendation. However, in 2019, a bench of the Apex Court dismissed the petition of the accused judicial officers and upheld the High Court verdict and vacated the stay and allowed the State government to take a decision on the HC’s recommendation on their dismissal which dismissed them from service.
These incidents are an eyeopener for Government servants who are habitual of use of complimentary private cars, hotel rooms, clubs & restaurants. Because of transperancy and use of information technology, every act of a government official is under scanner. The movements, conversations, messages, mails of any government officials can be retrieved anytime, whenever required. The bank accounts & lockers on any official can easily be traced with the mandatory identification provided by Aadhaar card. With digitalization of immovable properties on the anvil, there are more chances of exposure of unexplained investments. CC television Cameras have been installed at strategic locations and movement of any individual can easily be traced. Media throughout the world has also become very investigative and in order to increase their TPA, they expose politicians, government officers, filmstars, sports persons & big business tycoons. It is therefore necessary for all government officials to be modest, honest, maintain high integrity & character and their actions should be in accordance with the Service rules. They should take it for granted that with new technologies ” Uper wala sab dekhta hai-sab jaanta hai”. Nobody would be able to elude from him.