Mere retirement will not be a ground for dropping proceedings against corrupt government servants who will now face a 10 per cent cut in pension in case of minor penalty.

The present major penalty of compulsory retirement with full benefits will be changed hereafter with a cut of 20 per cent in pension.

The new rules will be effective under decisions made in the first report of the Group of Ministers on Corruption headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

In a bid to tackle corruption and to fast track cases of public servants accused of graft, the GoM has decided to eliminate certain tiers in consultation process.

These steps are part of a series of measures accepted by the government for immediate implementation following the recommendations made.

The government’s decisions come in the wake of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption campaign for a Lokpal Bill that would also cover bureaucratic graft.

Until now, a government servant on the verge of retirement can escape proceedings for minor penalty. The GoM has now decided mere superannuation should not be a ground for dropping proceedings for minor penalty.

A cut in pension upto 10 per cent may be imposed in case of minor penalty. This cut will have a ceiling of five years as a life-long reduction in pension would come under the category of major penalty.

The existing major penalty of compulsory retirement with full benefits may be changed to compulsory retirement along with a provision that the competent authority may impose upto 20 per cent cut in pension.

However, there would be no cut in pension in those cases of compulsory retirement of officers being weeded out for non-performance.

The GoM has also decided to make the departments and ministries to primarily use serving officers as Inquiry and Presenting Officers in one of the steps towards speeding up the inquiry proceedings.

In important cases, the officers may request the Central Vigilance Commission to appoint their Commissioner of Direct Inquiries as IO.

The GoM is also of the opinion that CVC may also maintain a panel of IOs and POs from among retired officers after screening and empanelment. They could also be engaged on the advice of the CVC.

Taking into account that delays in sanction of prosecution of public servants, the GoM says that it was imperative that sanction should be decided expeditiously and within the prescribed time-frame of three months.

The GoM has recommended that in all cases where the investigating agency has sought sanction for prosecution and submitted a charge sheet along with it, the competent authority will have to take a decision within three months from the receipt of the request and pass a ‘speaking order’ with reasons.

If the permission is refused by the competent authority, the request should go to the next higher authority and if it is the minister and he too refuses he should submit the order within seven days to the Prime Minister.

The Secretary of each ministry and department will monitor all cases where a request has been made for permission to prosecute and submit a certificate every month to the Cabinet Secretary to the effect that no case is pending for more than 3 months. Reasons for pendency of a case for more than three months should be explained.

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