"If the Secretary Level Officers have not complied with the orders of the Government, how we can expect a common citizen to comply with the orders of the Government", remarked the Madras High Court on Friday (18th December) while coming down heavily on the state government for lack of response in implementing a government order (G.O.), passed in the year 2010 to ensure a corruption-free and transparent administration in the State of Tamil Nadu.
The Bench of Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice B. Pugalendhi also observed,
"If the Government servant is not complying with the orders of the Government, the same can be treated as misconduct or as unbecoming of the Government Servant, warranting initiation of appropriate departmental proceedings against them."
Observations of the Court
The Bench noted that an Administrative Reforms Committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Justice A.K.Rajan, Retired Judge of Madras High Court, to ensure the corruption-free and transparent administration.
The Court observed that certain recommendations of the said Committee were also accepted by the Government, vide G.O.(Ms)No.24, Personnel and Administrative Department, dated 17.02.2010, wherein one of the recommendations was for fixing accountability on every Government servant, at every stage at every level.
The Court further observed that the Government, while accepting these recommendations, had requested all the Heads of the Departments to issue necessary orders to this effect while delegating the powers.
"Even though the said Government Order has been passed in the year 2010, none of the Departments has taken any effective steps to implement the said Government Order", noted the Court
Taking a strict view of the non-compliance, the Court said,
"When the Secretary Level Officers have not even adhered to G.O. (Ms)No.24, dated 17.02.2010, nearly for a decade, then, how the same can be viewed?"
The Court said that even a common man cannot plead that he is ignorant of the law of the Government.
Further, the Court remarked,
"When that is the position for a common man, what would be the responsibility of the Secretary Level Officers. If the Government Orders are utterly disobeyed by the Secretary Level Officers in such a manner, then who could be expected to obey the Government Orders."
In this backdrop, the Court remarked that unless the Government comes with an Act or Rule, on these recommendations as accepted by the Government as on 17.02.2010 or even any Circulars and instruction are issued in this regard, "it will be in paper alone without effective implementation."