The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court issued a notice to the state government for non-framing of regulations under the Maharashtra government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2005.
A division bench, comprising justices Sharad Bobde and MN Gilani issued notice on a public interest litigation filed by Nagpur Chamber of Commerce Limited (NCCL) who contended that framing of said regulations would rule out red-tape and harassment of common man.
The notice, may in a way, benefit Anna Hazare's campaign for a citizen's charter (Citizen's charter is defined to mean a list of facilities or services rendered by the office or department, together with the time limit for providing such facility or services to the general public). The notice asks the government to file reply in two weeks.
According to the NCCL secretary, Tejinder Singh Renu, the inordinate and unjustified delay by state law department and general administration department has made this law redundant and toothless.
The PIL claimed that main cause of corruption is total lack of accountability in government offices and the inordinate and inexplicable delay by officials to process a simple application which often forces people to shell out money.
The issue was highlighted by Anna Hazare before Maharashtra government. The state government came up with the Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Ordinance, 2003 on August 25, 2003.
Thereafter, the state legislature replaced the said ordinance with the Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2005 on May 12, 2006. The act was brought into force on July 1, 2006.
The Act applies to all the government servants in the state service, including the All India Service Officers of the Maharashtra cadre. The act has two major limbs - Regulation of transfer of government servants and Prevention of delay in discharge of official duties by government servants.
The Act mandatorily requires every office and department of the State Government to prepare and publish citizen’s charter within six months from the date of the Act coming into force.
Under section 8 of the Act, if no final decision is taken within the period specified in the citizen’s charter by the concerned authorities then an action shall be taken against them by fixing the responsibility for inaction on them. However, despite enacting such a people-friendly act, the State Government had not drafted rules and tabled it before the State Legislature forthwith. The PIL demanded immediate formulation of rules to ensure good governance and instill accountability within state bureaucracy.
No file shall remain pending with any government servant for more than seven days. Further, it is incumbent to dispose of immediate files within 1 day or by the morning of the next day. Not only this but also, it is mandatory to dispose of the urgent files within a period of four days. It is necessary to decide and to take necessary action in any matter within a period of 45 days in respect of files which are not required to be referred to any other department. If any file is required to be referred to be any other department then, decision and necessary action thereon shall have to be taken within a period of three months.
Section 10(2) of the Act further goes to state that any willful or intentional delay or negligence in discharging official duties by the government servants shall amount to dereliction of duties and shall make such government servant liable for appropriate disciplinary action.