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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Government likely to lift babus’ graft immunity shield

Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 09, 2011
First Published: 00:02 IST(9/1/2011) | Last Updated: 00:53 IST(9/1/2011)

The government is likely to make it easier to prosecute corrupt public servants in its plan to tackle corruption.

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This is one of seven specific proposals to be considered by an eight-member group of ministers (GoM) headed by Pranab Mukherjee. The GoM give its advice on a proposal to amend Article 311 of the Constitution, which is meant to protect government servants against arbitrary dismissal and punishment.

The view in the government is that this article, meant to act as a shield for honest employees, has now become a hindrance in the fight against corruption. 

HT had first reported on Thursday about the setting up of the GoM.

“The GoM will consider all measures, including legislative and administrative, to tackle corruption and improve transparency,” a cabinet secretariat notification says. It will also consider whether the CBI needs government permission to investigate an officer of joint secretary-level and above.

Currently, except in cases where an official is caught red handed by the investigating agency, permission is required. 

The GoM was set up in the backdrop of a four-point plan of action outlined by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi last month to tackle corruption “head-on”.

The government has been facing an Opposition onslaught over scams such as 2G spectrum allocation, Commonwealth Games and Adarsh Housing Society of Mumbai.

The GoM’s terms of reference have put at rest all speculation about a possible ordinance on an anti-corruption mechanism, since it has been given 60 days to submit its recommendations.


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